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Daily Record
Daily Record
Fraser Clarke

West Dunbartonshire SNP leader hits out at Labour council's welfare job cuts

Cuts to welfare and financial advice jobs in West Dunbartonshire create a frightening situation for the most vulnerable in society, it has been claimed.

Under proposals approved by West Dunbartonshire Council’s Labour administration in their March budget, up to 28 full-time roles from the welfare rights and money advice services teams could be axed.

This will see some teams at the local authority’s Working4U service cut from 11 to potentially just three. West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) say it’s too early to accurately confirm the number of reductions to staffing numbers.

Unions have reacted with fury at the decision, labelling it ‘a sad day for workers and the community’.

And now leader of the council’s SNP opposition, Dumbarton councillor Karen Conaghan, has also hit out at the cuts being made during a cost of living crisis.

She said: “I was deeply concerned when the Labour administration passed their budget which will slash services which our most vulnerable people in West Dunbartonshire rely upon.

(Lennox Herald)

“As yet we have no definite answers on which jobs will go from the council’s Working4U services and my thoughts are with those staff affected who face uncertainty over their jobs; I know those staff care deeply about the citizens they help with access to benefits and money advice.

“Undoubtedly each of the possible 28 jobs which could be lost will see a gap which will leave those most in need of help in this cost of living crisis unsupported.

“This budget also saw Labour cut funding to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), so not only will the council be unable to help but CAB are impacted too.

“It’s a frightening situation for an area of deprivation like West Dunbartonshire, especially at this current time with the cost of food and fuel being so high, a benefits system that can be very difficult to navigate, the UK having a punitive sanctions regime and the worst old age pension in Europe.”

A council spokeswoman said the service is currently consulting with employees.

She added: “W4U service will continue to provide a wide range of support to residents including money advice, employment and community learning and development. In addition, through its cost of living initiatives, the council is providing a range of support and advice to residents including help with utility costs, a school meal hardship fund, free activities for young people and additional funding for community groups and food banks.”

The Lennox understands that WDC is looking at a range of options to reduce employee numbers, which includes early retirement, voluntary severance and not filling vacant positions.

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