Liberal Democrat Councillor Lynn Jeffries is calling on Labour run York Council to guarantee that housing advice sessions in West York will continue despite funding cuts.
When Labour closed Acomb Housing Office in February 2012 they were forced to set-up alternative advice sessions at Foxwood and Chapelfields community centres. The weekly sessions offer residents help on housing, housing benefits and Council Tax support as well as on issues such as anti-social behaviour.
However, after Labour slashed funding to community centres the sessions are now in doubt. Cuts mean caretakers at the centres have been made redundant and therefore there is no longer a second member of staff on hand to ensure that the sessions can continue – a second staff member is needed due to lone worker regulations.
Councillor Lynn Jeffries, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Westfield, commented:
“The sessions are well attended and offer local residents help on housing, benefits, and issues such as reporting anti-social behaviour. After Labour’s closure of the Acomb Office the advice sessions are one of the few examples of a tangible council presence in the local community.
“I am therefore calling on the Labour Cabinet Member to ensure that the sessions are protected for the long-term. They seem to have found a temporary solution to keep the sessions going week-by-week without the caretakers, but Labour need to guarantee residents that the advice sessions will continue permanently.
“Labour should be focusing resources on maintaining local services like this for residents in communities like Acomb instead of wasting money on vanity projects in the city-centre.”
Councillor Jeffries will be challenging the Labour Cabinet Member, Councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing, to guarantee that the sessions will continue permanently at York’s Full Council meeting on the 27th February.
Information on the advice sessions can be found here: http://www.york.gov.uk/info/200549/council_buildings_and_departments/193/council_buildings_and_departments/2
York’s Full Council meeting will take place on Thursday, 27th March 6.30pm at the Guildhall.