On Tuesday 27th February 2018 members of the Broxbourne Labour Party staged a protest opposing cuts to Broxbourne’s Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) funding at Broxbourne Council’s annual Budget statement meeting.
The council’s Tory administration have agreed to cut the funding to the Citizens Advice Bureau by 50% for the coming financial year to £30,000, before fully withdrawing funding the following year.
The C.A.B. has a proud history of supporting all local residents providing free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to anyone who feels their rights have been violated. Last year alone the C.A.B. provided advice to over 3,000 clients covering over 12,000 different issues.
This cut is even more galling when taken in the wider context of the Council’s budget statement where Cllr Ken Ayling, Cabinet Member for Finance at Broxbourne Council, delivered a rather self-congratulatory budget informing of the Council’s extremely healthy financial position. The paradox of such a conceited budget statement being set against further wielding of the Tory axe to essential services, was not lost on Labour Cllr Neil Harvey who tabled an amendment asking the Council to look again at the cut. This amendment fell on deaf ears and with grim and depressing predictability was unanimously rejected by every Tory member present, without a single word in praise or support of the CAB’s invaluable work.
The Council continues to assert that they are not cutting funding but rather diverting it to an in-house Residents Liaison Officer who will offer residents advice akin to CAB. However, such a proposal is simply unacceptable and undermines the key independence and impartiality of the advice the resident will receive. For example, how can a local resident possibly approach the Council for advice when they are in a dispute with the very same council over Council Tax or rent arrears?
Broxbourne Labour will continue to ensure that this cut is called out for what it is. An assault on the rights of every resident of this Borough, especially the most vulnerable, to access fair, free and timely advice when they find themselves on the wrong side of often powerful and unscrupulous institutions.