Desperate people queuing for help

PUBLISHED: 08:42 31 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:57 11 May 2010

PEOPLE desperate for financial and legal advice are less important than party political one-upmanship. I believe that is the only conclusion possible from the rejection, by the Conservatives in charge of Cambridgeshire County Council, of a plan to grant

PEOPLE desperate for financial and legal advice are less important than party political one-upmanship.

I believe that is the only conclusion possible from the rejection, by the Conservatives in charge of Cambridgeshire County Council, of a plan to grant £100,000 immediately, and more next year, to advice agencies such as the CAB.

All the advice agencies are swamped by enquiries from people in desperate need of help over debt, benefits, redundancy and home repossessions. Cambridge CAB has a six-week waiting list for specialist appointments, and is turning away at least 20 people per day from its doors. There are similar problems across the county.

The funding plan would have allowed for additional advisors to be employed immediately, within days.

This is something quite modest but very important that the council can do to help quickly in these times of economic difficulty.

Instead, the Conservatives hijacked the proposal and replaced it with one so vague and undeveloped that I defy anyone even to understand it, let alone how or when it will be put into practice. There isn't even a mention for the advice agencies, just some grandiose talk of "emergency assistance and pump-priming projects".

I believe the people queuing outside the CAB would rather get some expert advice than have their pumps primed by the county council.

It's a shame when party politics takes over from common sense and goodwill. It brings politics and politicians into disrepute. This was a very bad mistake by Jill Tuck, leader of the Conservative council. I think she should apologise to the public and the advice agencies and announce that this funding will, after all, be made immediately available.

Cllr Nichola Harrison, Lib Dem


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