CAB chief axed in budget cuts
9:03am Monday 11th March 2013 in News
THE Citizens Advice Bureau in Bolton is facing a massive reduction in services because of huge budget cuts.
And the highest profile casualty is Barry Lyon, the man who has led the service for the past two decades.
Mr Lyon had been chief executive of the Mawdsley Street-based Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) for 20 years and worked there for the past 25 years.
But government cuts to legal aid means the bureau is set to lose £500,000 per year — 40 per cent of its funding — and is now undergoing a staff review, with up to 18 of the 50 employees under threat of redundancy.
Mr Lyon, who declined to comment, left the service on March 1, and has been replaced by new chief officer Richard Wilkinson, aged 41, who has worked at the branch for 10 years.
Mr Wilkinson warned the cuts meant the service it provides will be massively reduced from next month, a problem, he said, that will be made worse by the welfare reforms due to kick in at the same time.
He said: “The Government has massively cut the money available for legal aid, which will affect advice for things we’re traditionally associated with like benefits, money and employment advice, so come April we won’t be able to do some of the more complex work we’ve done in the past.
“Someone who has had help for something like putting evidence together to fight a benefits appeal two years ago will find we can only do a fraction of what we did.”
“It’s not just the loss of people, but also the loss of skills which is the problem.
“And this will be happening just as people need our help more and more with things like bedroom tax.
“For every £1 spent on welfare advice, it actually saves the state £8, because if someone is made homeless for example, you’ve then got to rehouse them.”
Mr Wilkinson added: “We are doing everything in our power to ensure people living in Bolton can continue to get CAB advice when and where they need it, by developing our telephone advice services, our outreach services and by recruiting and training even more volunteers.”