Five out of eight Citizens Advice Bureaux in Glasgow are facing closure if the city council goes ahead with plans to cut one third from legal advice funding. Other agencies, including Govan Law Centre, will be forced to make severe cutbacks.
The shock plans have been drawn up by council officials and will be voted on by councillors on Thursday.
If implemented they will result in the closure of Glasgow Central CAB, Bridgeton CAB, Easterhouse CAB, Parkhead CAB and Castlemilk CAB.
Other CABx in the city including Glasgow North West, Drumchapel and Pollok will also face cuts.
According to Citizens Advice Scotland Chair Rory Mair:
"These cuts are short-sighted and will seriously damage the prospects of people in the city just as we enter a period of huge economic uncertainty.
"Local bureaux have sought to engage with the council through this process and have been met with silence. The process here once again seems to have put an algorithm above the needs of real people.
"The reality is cutting our services will just increase the pressure on council services, and vulnerable people will fall through the net.
"We understand that these proposals have not yet been seen by councillors, so we are pleading with Glasgow City Councillors to see sense and not implement these proposed cuts. The long term damage they would do would be simply devastating for the poorest people in our communities."
Mike Dailly of Govan Law Centre, said a 37% cut in funding means more risk for people facing evictions and repossessions.
"At a time of a world pandemic, and with the prospect of UK Government employ support schemes coming to an end, Glasgow needs full capacity for free legal, debt and welfare rights services" he said.
A council spokesperson said:
"Demand for grant support has been exceptional – with applications received for well over double the total value of the fund. Unfortunately, this was always going to mean disappointment for some organisations with applications that scored less highly during assessment.”
If you are likely to be affected by these cuts, it would be worth contacting your local Glasgow city councillor and explaining your objections.
Advice agencies in other areas of the UK will be watching anxiously to see whether these cuts get through. If they do, it may embolden other local authorities to take the axe to their own local advice sector