A CALL has been made to Conwy Council not to cut funding to Citizens Advice.

Janet Finch-Saunders, Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy, expressed her disappointment on hearing that, released in their Budget Reduction Proposal, Conwy Council plans to end the annual payment to Citizens Advice.

The MP said this would bring to an end funding for work assisting with Housing Benefits and Council Tax queries.

She added it would be a huge blow to the Conwy community.

Citizens Advice Conwy provides free, confidential and impartial advice on money, benefit, housing or employment problems. It is somewhere people can turn to in times of crisis - or just if they are considering their options.

It is an independent charity, part of the Citizens Advice network across England and Wales.

Citizens Advice helped more than 4 million people – more than 7 per cent of the population – in England and Wales in 2022/23.

Ms Finch-Saunders said the service is vital to those who require help in our society.

She said: “Yet more cuts from Conwy Council that will deeply affect our community. Being a source of advice for the community myself I know how vital these services can be for people.

"At a time when more of us are struggling and seeking advice it is madness to be taking such extreme measures. It will only mean more people become lost and confused when dealing with complicated and intimidating problems – exacerbating problems further down the line.

"Some may even think that there is no help at all.

“I severely hope that Conwy Council will readdress this immediately and agree to continue funding Citizens Advice so that our community can continue to have somewhere to go in times of need.”

The call comes as Conwy Council looks to make cuts in the face of a financial black hole.

The Welsh Government announced in December that the authority will receive the joint lowest percentage rise in Wales, together with Gwynedd, of its annual local government settlement, an increase of just 2 per cent.

It could also raise council tax by as much as 11 per cent – and is even considering increasing the cost of a home safety alarm scheme for the elderly and vulnerable so it makes a profit.

Other controversial proposals include wide-spread service cuts and slashing school budgets, despite the damage to children’s education caused by COVID.

In response, Cllr Charlie McCoubrey, Leader of Conwy County Borough Council, said councillors have difficult decisions to make when they meet to finalise the budget on February 29.

He said: “The proposed 2% increase in Welsh Government funding for Conwy is the lowest in Wales and has left the Council with an estimated funding shortfall for 2024/25 of £25.375m. 

“We recognise the impact that cutting this grant funding may have on CA Conwy and the services that they provide to residents, but the Council has very difficult choices to make if it is to achieve a balanced budget position, which it is legally required to do." 

He added: “The Council has been supportive of applications for significant alternative funding that CA Conwy have submitted to the Shared Prosperity Fund for 2024/25.”