'It would be unfair to cut CAB funding'

NEWTOWNABBEY Citizens Advice Bureau manager Pat Hutchinson has appealed to councillors to reconsider a potentially devastating funding cut.

She made the plea during a presentation to Monday night's Development Committee meeting at Mossley Mill.

In December councillors voted to cut the CAB's budget by almost a third, however, this was deferred for further consideration and to allow the CAB to present its case.

Councillors were given two presentations on Monday evening - the first from a consultant on advice provision across the province and the service need for Newtownabbey.

Mrs Hutchinson then delivered her presentation, asking councillors to reconsider a cut in the service's budget.

She said: "To reduce the level of funding by such an extent would mean a cut in the service provision for the people of Newtownabbey and we would have to consider redundancy.

"Last year we dealt with 36,761 issues from 16,127 contacts. That is an increase on the previous year and more than the Northern Ireland average.

"And we recovered 3 million for clients, 11 for every pound invested.

"Advisors have dealt with 3,342 issues or 1,466 contacts on average each - it is a massive workload.

"The staff cost per contact is 13.42, around 10 cheaper than it is in Belfast or Derry.

"We are the only independent advice provider in Newtownabbey and with the increase in personal debt there will be a further increase in people needing advice."

Read the full story in this week's Times...