Wrexham MP Ian Lucas has thrown his full support behind a campaign to save the town’s under-threat Citizens Advice service.
Mr Lucas joined members of the Wrexham Labour Party on Saturday 19th May 19 as they collected signatures on a petition calling for the council to provide a grant of £50,000 to save the service from imminent closure.
The Citizens Advice office, on Grosvenor Road, has had its funding from Wrexham Council phased out over the past two years following a decision made by the council’s executive board.
It is thought the service faces “imminent closure” if additional funds aren’t sought.
Mr Lucas said that the loss of the service would have a “severe impact” on local residents.
He said: “Wrexham is now the only council in Wales which cannot find money to help fund its own Citizens Advice service. This is simply not acceptable and, in fact, I believe it is highly irresponsible.
“Having no Citizens Advice service in Wrexham would have a severe impact on the welfare of the people in this town. It’s a free service which is used by thousands every year and the loss of the Citizens Advice service would leave people with no viable alternative.
“Not surprisingly, the public’s response to the petition on Saturday was overwhelmingly supportive.”
The Citizens Advice service covers cases relating to debt advice, immigration, consumer rights, small claims, housing applications, rights at work, probate forms, neighbour disputes, divorce and separation, complaints about the health service or care homes, or power of attorney matters.
The council has a Welfare Rights Unit but this only deals with welfare benefit issues, and charges apply in some cases. However Mr Lucas says the in-house council service simply does not have the capacity to cover everything handled by the Citizens Advice service.
Later on today councillors will have the opportunity to debate and vote on a motion put forward by the Labour Group, calling on Wrexham Council to provide a grant of £50,000 to CAB to prevent its “imminent closure”.
Earlier this week Wrexham.com reported that the six councillors who have tabled the motion have also called on Wrexham Council to carry out review, prior to the end of this current financial year, of Wrexham’s CAB’s viability needs for the following year.
Mr Lucas added: “I urge the council to vote to keep our Citizens Advice service open. Advice services should not be closed down at a time when people desperately need them.”
The motion will be debated by councillors at the reconvened annual meeting of council this afternoon at 4pm. The meeting is open to the public.