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Welsh government reviews advice services

The Welsh government has published a review into services providing free advice for the public, as they manage reduced funding and rising demand.

Organisations such as the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Shelter Cymru have been analysed to ensure people can still access the services they need.

The entire sector is expected to lose around £3.36m over the next 18 months, with the equivalent of 50 full time jobs disappearing, the report states.

Minister for communities & tackling poverty Huw Lewis said: “Thousands of people every week rely on free advice to cope with the demands on their lives. The support these not-for-profit organisations provide is more crucial than ever given the current tough times. These organisations are facing a huge squeeze on their funding at the very time when more people are turning to them for help. Expert, specialist advice in many areas will simply disappear.

“The economic downturn, the cuts being imposed by the UK Government and the changes to welfare are combining to make a perfect storm. This review will help us create a picture of what services are currently available in Wales and how best to help the sector in the difficult times ahead.

“There is evidence suggesting that money invested in advice services can potentially save the tax payer in the long run. Given the unprecedented pressure on the Welsh Government’s budget, we will not be able to take on the burden of funding all services, but I want to make sure people do not fall through the cracks given the changes.”

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