Councillors Urged to Put Hands in Pockets to Rescue Newcastle CAB

Councillors Urged to Put Hands in Pockets to Rescue Newcastle CAB

The Newcastle upon Tyne Community First Party has today set out its plan to save Newcastle Citizens Advice Bureau from Liberal Democrat cuts, which have been condemned by the Labour Party in Newcastle and the Prime Minister.

In its manifesto for the local elections, Newcastle First will seek to find the £66,000 shortfall from the councillor expenses budget and by slashing the lavish council tea for councillors immediately before meetings of the full council. The budget for councillors’ expenses and allowances is worth more than £1million. The Citizens Advice Bureau rescue would average only 5% of councillors’ current income.

The Newcastle Community First Party has also confirmed that any Newcastle First councillors elected in May will pledge to go it alone if necessary by donating 50% of their allowances in the first year.

Jason Smith, Leader of the Newcastle upon Tyne Community First Party (pictured above), said: “The Citizens Advice Bureau plays a massive role in the life of our city and is a lifeline to people who find themselves in difficulty and need someone independent to turn to.

“We recognise that Newcastle First will not be in a position to push through a reduction in councillors expenses for 2011/12 – whatever happens in the elections – as it has already been agreed. We will be asking councillors to voluntarily contribute 5% of their allowance package for this year only and to cut back on or get rid of council tea.

“These actions are only necessary because Lib Dem councillors either did not understand the implications – or failed to recognise the importance of the Citizens Advice Bureau for residents of our city – when they voted for Newcastle’s budget. I hope Labour and independent councillors as well as Lib Dems who regret their actions will show their support for the Newcastle Citizens Advice Bureau by making this commitment today.”

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