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Tonight’s meeting of the Policy and Resources meeting was always going to be a tough meeting, the main item of business being the future of advice services in Harlow.
The day leading up to the meeting saw a number of twists and turns in a well reported saga. But culminated in what I believe to be a success.
We were able to agree a way forward that should see the advice centre remain open for a budget price that the council, and taxpayer, can afford. It also secures the future of CAB in Harlow.
The key movement today, was when the people from the Welfare Rights and Advice centre admitted that they could provide a service for £120,000. Something they previously had not admitted to be possible. My only sadness is that had they been reasonable about the issue in the first place, we could have reached this point much sooner.
We were always very open with people about what the council could afford to pay for advice services. We benchmarked the amount we were able to spend against other councils to ensure that the amount we had was reasonable compared to others, and it was.
Anyway, we have a way to move forward now, and the council has also secured CAB’s services in the town as well.
All in all a good result.
Its a shame that the Labour and Liberal Democrats voted against all of the proposals, including the cash for CAB, which they had previously said they supported.