Until 2018, Colchester Borough Council was proud to support the much-valued work of Citizens Advice by awarding that organisation an annual grant of £100,000.

Then last year the Lib-Dem & Labour Coalition that runs the Council decided arbitrarily to cut the Citizens Advice Grant to one quarter of its previous Level.

So in the Council's budget debate for 2020/21 on 13th February, Colchester Conservatives proposed restoring the full grant to Citizens Advice by making a further £70,000 available to this key front-line organisation, should it want it. Unfortunately, Labour, Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and Independents combined to vote-down the Conservative proposal to reverse the cuts, and restore the Grant to £100,000.

Cllr Lewis Barber, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, who proposed the restoration of the full grant, said:  “There is no allocation for Colchester’s Citizens Advice in the budget for 2020/21, despite what the Council say. Colchester Conservatives proposed reversing the cut the Liberal Democrats and Labour made to Citizens Advice. Sadly, these proposals were voted down"

Because of the importance of the Grant to Citizens Advice, we insisted that the decision was a "named vote" recorded by the Clerk to the Council and published in the minutes, showing the names of the 22 Conservative Councillors who voted for the restoration of the Citizens Advice Grant, and the 26 Lib-Dem, Labour, Independent and Green Councillors who voted against restoring the £75,000 previously cut from the grant to Citizens Advice.

If you vote for the Conservatives in May, we pledge to restore the full grant of £100,000  to Citizens Advice, and we will prioritise front line services and scrap taxpayer funded vanity projects.”