Debt help seekers received more good news this week as it was revealed five drop-in centres due to close in Birmingham have been saved.
The quintet of Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) hubs had been earmarked for termination due to a lack of funding from the local council (see the Debt Problems guide).
However, crunch talks this week been council chiefs and CAB officials saved the centres, which offer a free advice service.
They were due to shut their doors for good last Friday but the closure was postponed pending that last-ditch rescue effort.
Had they shut, it would have left hundreds of thousands of local residents, many in deprived areas, without access to free debt advice.
The news comes after the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills stepped into the Treasury's shoes on Saturday to prop-up the £27 million-a-year Financial Inclusion Fund (FIF), for at least a year, which supports about 500 debt advisers – mainly from the CAB – nationwide.
The plug was due to be pulled on the funding in April. The FIF is a separate funding stream to local authority cash. Different centres rely on support from a range of financial backers.
A CAB spokeswoman says: "The open-door services in Birmingham remain open and operational, and the bureau service is in constructive dialogue with Birmingham City Council about future funding."
She adds that while there are no current plans to close the centres, it is impossible to predict the future.
Despite the good news, many centres are still under threat from local authority cuts.
Business Secretary Vince Cable says: "It's vitally important everyone has access to free debt advice. I would like to take this opportunity to call on the other funding streams, such as from local authorities, to help provide whatever support they can to keep this excellent service going."
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