Paisley CAB faces Closure

Only months after Renfrewshire Law Centre closed,Paisley Citizen Advice Bureau is now facing closure.

The CAB which has existed for over 30 years, is facing a shortfall of £115,000 after it’s funding was cut to £242,000.

Renfrewshire Council recently put the funding of advice services out to tender.

The threatened closure follows the recent closure of Renfrewshire Law Centre and will follow the recent closure of North Ayrshire Citizen Advice Bureau.

The news comes after new information has arisen that shows across Scotland, local authority funded money advice services have suffered 45% cuts to their funding in the last three years, despite personal debt levels returning to pre credit crunch levels.

The cuts also come three years after the Scottish Government introduced the Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act 2014, which made it a requirement for people in debt to obtain advice before they can access formal debt remedies like the Debt Arrangement Scheme and bankruptcy.

Since the Act was introduced in April 2015, numbers applying for both remedies have fallen by 46% and 32% respectively.

The CAB currently employs 22 staff members and has 42 volunteers.

Speaking about the threatened closure, Labour’s finance spokesperson, Alison Dowling said:

“I recognise the SNP’s support of the CAB, and that they provided the tendering process because they recognise how necessary it is.

“What I am urging the administration to do, is return to the financial support model under the previous administration, which provided core funding for the past seven years.

“I believe the SNP have acted in good faith in that they acknowledge how important the CAB is to the people for Renfrewshire and civic life, but the decision to put in place this open market tendering process, which does not take into account the core services, is simply incompetent.

“It would be disastrous, a catastrophe if the CAB was to close, and at present that is what is looking likely to happen.”

For more information see here.

Statutory Debt Advice Levy

Statutory Debt Advice Levy

The Tackling Problem Debt Working Group is a working group that has been established by the Scottish Government in response to the fact they will be taking responsibility for how the Financial Conduct Authority Debt Advice Levy is spent in Scotland.

The Group has stated it will be looking to develop a new debt route map, which will outline a vision for what steps are necessary to achieve a sustainable, effective and user-centred debt advice system in Scotland by 2025.

As Scotland’s local authority funded money advice services have suffered 45% cuts since 2014-15, I have drafted a paper outlining a proposal for a Scottish Debt Advice Levy and asked the Group to consider the proposal.

The proposal can be read here.