In 'Citizens Advice' back
in March, we saw how Commissar John Coombes planned to cut £36,800 from the money Fylde Council had used to fund the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) service. This was despite having
enough in his various reserve accounts to pay CAB this sum for over a hundred and thirty years. But he claimed Fylde Council couldn't afford to spend the £36,800 because they would
have to make a lot of savings next year, and the Council need to tighten the belt now.
This was complete tosh, but the Politburo fell for it, and now the chickens have come home to roost..
The Citizens Advice Bureau offices are in a lodge-type property at the gates of Ashton Gardens. The property is owned by Fylde Council as part of their Ashton Gardens landholding.
They let it to CAB and fund them to provide advice to people in need.
counterbalance understands that CAB had expected the Council (their landlord) to re-wire the property in January, but this work was not done.
Recently there was a fire at the CAB office.
Now; a fire at your office is disruptive and traumatic enough, but when you are trying to cope with a massive reduction in your funding at the same time, it must make you feel like
Faced with the need to make substantial cuts, we understand the staff at CAB had been through their spending budget and cut out everything that didn't impact on the service to
their clients. (Unlike The Commissar's approach which doesn't work using common sense like this. Based on his previous form, he would have kept the overheads and non-productive
costs, but cut the service to clients)
But CAB is a voluntary sector organisation with their feet firmly on the ground, and we understand they ruthlessly chopped their non-productive and overhead costs.
One of the first budget casualties was the CAB's contents insurance premium. So the loss attributable to the fire appears to be uninsured.
Life suddenly got even more difficult.
counterbalance has now heard that CAB staff are being made redundant, and barring something very unusual, the Citizen's Advice Bureau service in St Anne's has closed, and is
not due to re-open.
Nice one, Commissar.
At a time when personal debt is measured in trillions, when young people leaving University and further education start life with debts of tens of thousands of pounds, when
personal bankruptcy is at an all time high, you close down probably the most cost effective and helpful debt counselling service available in Fylde.
It takes a special kind of person to be that clever.
It couldn't be that this has been planned for some time would it? It couldn't be that this disgraceful and unnecessary Rachman style eviction of CAB is so that you can put your own
staff into the property would it? You don't have designs on it as part of this lottery scheme do you? You wouldn't - as one reader suggested to counterbalance - 'be thrilled
to bits' because some of the Parks staff want to move in would you?
Dated: 16 June 2006