Skye and Lochalsh Citizens Advice Bureau manager hits out at cuts to frontline services

Skye and Lochalsh CAB manager Morag Hannah has said that cuts have put the service at risk of losing “an experienced and highly-skilled frontline worker”. Photo credit: Willie Urquhart – WHFP.

The manager of Skye and Lochalsh Citizens Advice Bureau has hit out at the axing of crucial funding that will see the loss of a highly-skilled frontline worker.

Morag Hannah’s comments followed last week’s confirmation that a range of anti-poverty measures are under threat as a result of a cut in Scottish Legal Aid Board funding of £626,717, which comes from the Scottish Government.

These cuts will have a direct impact on the loss of at least 25 staff positions in 15 CABs, including the one that serves Skye and Lochalsh.

Ms Hannah said: “For the past five years many organisations providing vital front-line advice to the most vulnerable in our communities have been in receipt of funding from SLAB’s “Making Advice Work” grant funding programme. This programme was initially for the period 2013 to 2015 but the success of the programme has seen its continuation and the offer of an enhancement this financial year.

Statistics provided by the Skye and Lochalsh Citizens Advice Bureau detail its contribution in terms of the number of clients help and the financial gain brought back to them.

“We have just been advised that the funding is to cease due to a significant cut in SLAB’s grant from the Scottish Government. The impact of this loss of what, after five years, has become a highly valued, well-established core service cannot be overstated. At risk for us in Skye and Lochalsh is the loss of an experienced and highly skilled front-line worker.

“These workers across Scotland provide vital services during a period that has seen families and vulnerable individuals struggling with changes to the benefits system and the impact of reduced income, helping 700 families in 2018 and increasing their income by a total of £2 million. For us to continue to deliver face to face advice services in Skye and Lochalsh, we must be funded accordingly allowing us to help people in greatest need and tackle poverty in our area.”

Article by Michael Russell