Dismay as advice centre leaves town

CLECKHEATON will wave goodbye to its Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) this week as the service is split between Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

The CAB service is a government-backed charity that provides advice on a range of matters to members of the public. Until this week it occupied an office within the Cleckheaton town hall building.

Its funding comes from a consortium of organisations, including Kirklees Council and the Law Centre, with a contract worth £800,000 to serve the district.

However, the service will be reorganised to offer a ‘new service’ according to Cleckheaton Coun Kath Pinnock.

“This will mean the first point of contact for people will be a phone call. For more complex matters, people will have to meet staff either at Dewsbury or Huddersfield,” she said.

“I don’t like it because local people want local advice. They might be put off if they have to speak to someone at a call centre if the call is personal or to do with their finances.”

Spen MP Mike Wood has also criticised the decision to move the CAB office from Cleckheaton.

“I am surprised and dismayed to learn that the CAB is closing its office in Cleckheaton and I would imagine local people will feel aggrieved at this decision and at how little warning there has been.

“Losing a valuable service like this at a time when people are struggling more and are in need or more help and more advice is a backwards step.”

l What do you think? Contact ben.morgan@ywng.co.uk.