NEWTOWNABBEY Citizens Advice Bureau staff and management committee members have made an impassioned plea for councillors to reconsider a 'devastating' funding cut.

It is believed councillors decided to cut funding to the service by 76,000 - almost a third of its budget - during a behind-closed-doors debate at Monday night's Development Committee meeting.

CAB District Manager Pat Hutchinson has said the cut would be 'devastating' to the service and four members of staff would have to be made redundant.

She, along with members of the management committee, have urged councillors to reconsider the cut before a final decision is made at next Monday's full council meeting (December 20).

She said: "For every pound the council puts into the service we bring 11 into the borough's economy.

"We are the only independent advice provider of its kind in the Newtownabbey area. Last year we serviced over 37,000 issues and brought in over 3 million.

"Newtownabbey CAB is the best performing bureau in Northern Ireland and in the top three of all the UK - no doubt we are providing a very valuable service.

"To cut our budget by a third is devastating and the service will be hit.

"We don't think councillors realise how big this cut is or the impact it will have and hopefully they will reconsider the decision at the next council meeting.

"We have witnessed an increase of over 39 per cent of issues dealt with in the past two years.

"The CAB is already over burdened and if there are cuts it will be the disadvantaged people in our community that will ultimately suffer."

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