Citizens Advice: Bolton services get ‘least funding’ in Greater Manchester

Citizens Advice services in Bolton receive the least council funding of any borough in Greater Manchester, according to claims at a recent meeting.

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) works to provide a range of services to people across the borough, often those in the most vulnerable situations.

But as it stands, despite struggling with high levels of deprivation, Bury and Bolton Citizens Advice receives just 47p per capita payments from Bolton Council compared to a Greater Manchester average of £1.14, according to newly elected Cllr Abul Atcha.

He said: “Each year Citizens Advice help give millions of people knowledge and confidence.

“They do this by providing advice, education and support

He added: “Residents of my ward reply heavily on a range of advice services supplied by CAB.

“And we know that for every pound spent on CAB services, additional cash is generated back into the hands of the individuals and the local economy, as well as creating savings for other areas of the public sector.”

The need for Citizens Advice services has been felt particularly strongly in Bolton, which is home to some of the country’s most deprived communities.

Child poverty across the borough was found to exceed the national average this year according to research by the End Child Poverty Coalition, while as many as two thirds of people in the Bolton South East area reported that they fear they will not be able to heat their homes this winter.

Given just how important Citizens Advice services have been, Cllr Atcha, who represents Rumworth, asked the council why, especially given levels of deprivation across the borough, funding has been “so low” compared to elsewhere across the city region.

In response, the council’s executive member for stronger communities, Cllr Mudasir Dean, said that services in the borough were still able to deliver a wide range of programmes.

ALSO READ: Very real fears that people in Bolton will not be able to stay warm this winter

ALSO READ: Bolton’s rich/poor divide widens with 50 per cent of children living in poverty in one area

But he also told the council that the authority’s citizens advice contract would soon be up for renewal.

Cllr Dean said: “All CABs across Greater Manchester operate in different ways.

“So Bolton and Bury get external national funding whereas others don’t.”

He added: “We are coming to the end of our five-year contract with them so that we will be reviewing, including myself as executive member for that area and we will keep you posted on the way forward.”

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