Hope for King’s Lynn CAB as crunch talks held

Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Councillors ENGANL00120130214162648
Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Councillors ENGANL00120130214162648

Council leader Nick Daubney

Norfolk CAB chief executive Steve Cheshire says the St Nicholas Street office will be closing on June 1 after West Norfolk Council withdrew its £67,000 funding.

Mr Cheshire warned that the service would have to be substantially reduced after the council to decided to re-tender its advice contracts to look at finances and housing.

But there may be hope for the service after crunch talks have been arranged between Mr Cheshire and council leader Nick Daubney.

Mr Daubney said: “If Mr Cheshire believes the contracts are too narrow and funding is needed for other remits, lets discuss it together as that would be the sensible way to approach things.”

But Mr Daubney said the CAB had not submitted a tender for the new contracts.

He said: “I think quite rightly the portfolio holder took the decision that this is a valuable service that needs to be carefully controlled as an awful lot of public money is involved.

“The CAB expressed an interest in to deliver the service but didn’t submit a tender.”

A CAB spokesman hopes there will be more to report next week.

She said: “Discussions with the council are taking place and hopefully we will have more to report next week.”

More than 300 people across the town have also lent their support to the bureau by signing a petition launched by trade unionist Jo Rust.

Mrs Rust is hoping to get 500 signatures and then present the petition, which has been listed with Change.org, to the council.

She has been pleased with the response to the petition, which shows the strength of feeling.

Mrs Rust said: “Change.org has told me that very few petitions, especially local ones get more than 100 signatures but the fact that we have 300, and that is still rising, shows the importance of this service to local people.

“Without this advice service, we would see many ordinary people suffer as it gets harder and harder to manage with increasing rents and high living costs combined with wages which are not going as far.

“The CAB provides everyone with essential support to overcome difficulties.

“I am keen to retain this essential service provided by the CAB in its entirety. I don’t want to see a diminished or depleted service.”

The CAB, which also receives £55,000 from Norfolk County Council, needs around £100,000 to run its Lynn base.

More than 2,000 people a year go to the office for advice on a range of issues, including benefits, employment, legal matters, immigration and Food Bank.

Speaking last week, Mr Cheshire said no firm decision had been made on the future provision of the service but he had ideas of running small outreach offices in other services such as medical practices or Sure Start Centres.