Citizens Advice cuts could be devastating, warns chief

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Media captionGillian Guy, CAB chief executive: "Cuts could amount to as much as 45% of our funding"

The Citizens Advice Bureau service could be devastated because of budget cuts, its chief has warned.

A number of centres are set to close as councils in England and Wales decide their funding for local CAB services.

CAB chief executive Gillian Guy said the service could be looking at a 45% drop in funding as a result of cuts in local and central government support.

The government said current funding for the CAB was haphazard but such services were important and should be supported.

Bureaux shutting

Local authorities provide the core of funding for the CAB and there will be average cuts of 10%.

Some channels of central government money will be stopping as well, and Ms Guy believes such a scenario would be "devastating".

All the bureaux in Birmingham are set to shut this month after the council cut its support.

The CAB service provides legal, welfare and debt advice, and BBC political correspondent Ben Wright says that demand is likely to increase as public spending is squeezed.

In addition, government plans to cull 174 quangos and merge 118 means the CAB will be expected to take on more responsibilities.

Ministers intend it to become a single one-stop shop for consumer complaints.

The majority of CAB staff are volunteers and Ms Guy believes there is a "big danger" that the voluntary sector capacity the government needs for its Big Society agenda will be harmed.

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