Victory for Citizens Advice cuts campaign

4 Mar 2024
Chloe and Richard outside Citizen's Advice Swanley

The three local Citizens Advice (CA) offices faced reduced opening hours because of cuts of more than a third by Sevenoaks District Council’s ruling Conservative group.

The cuts were proposed despite demand for CA services increasing by 14 per cent last year, as people continue to struggle with the pressures of rising costs of living. 

The £35,000 reduction - affecting Edenbridge & Westerham, Sevenoaks and Swanley CA offices - was agreed by the Full Council at a heated meeting last month. 

But now, just two weeks after every Conservative councillor voted in favour of the cut, the Council has partially reversed its position with a new one-off payment of £40,000. 

Liberal Democrat Councillors praised the many hundreds of local people who campaigned and signed our petition in support of Citizens Advice.

Councillor Richard Streatfeild said: "Local people have proved that their voice can make a difference. Our efforts together have forced the Conservatives to think again. 

We haven't got everything yet, but this is a clear sign that change is possible and we're on the way.

The Conservatives dismissed our concerns as a ‘storm in a teacup’. They lost the argument in the Council Chamber and public opinion was against them, so this significant U-turn is no surprise. 

Citizens Advice represents fantastic value for money and is a massive and valuable community resource. I'm delighted that we have already shown we can win the argument for the changes that Sevenoaks, Swanley and Edenbridge need."


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