Wandsworth Labour are fighting against a 10% funding cut for vital advice services offered to the borough’s most vulnerable residents.
Wandsworth’s ruling Conservative Group are proposing the cuts to the benefits advice services currently offered by Wandsworth Citizens’ Advice and the St Georges’ Mental Health Trust.
The proposals could see both lifeline advice services lose £54,000. This comes at a time when demand for the Citizens Advice service has grown from 7,000 in 2015 to 9,800 in 2016, and is expected to reach 11,000 by 2017.
The cut backs could lead to a change in services in Roehampton with the Advice service seeking a new location. They could also mean less face-to-face contact with clients.
Cllr. Andy Gibbons, Wandsworth Labour Finance speaker said: ‘These cuts must be stopped. They come at exactly the wrong time, with the Government’s Universal Credit causing hardship for families on low incomes. These services are a lifeline when people get into financial difficulties and they provide good value for money for the council. I fear if the services are cut the council will still have to provide the service at a much higher cost to the local council tax payer. It makes no sense.”
cllr Andy Gibbons
‘We have heard the Conservative government talk about the importance of supporting people with mental health issues, but here their flagship council is cutting a much needed-benefits advice service.’
A Council report describes both services as ‘performing well’ – the CAW secured £2m for their clients in 2016. The Mental health Benefits advice service raised £1.16m for users and carers and secured £1.28 for every £1 invested by the Council.