Local citizens advice services should be given proper priority in difficult economic times. That’s the message from the outgoing Chairman of Newtownabbey Citizens Advice Bureau, local Alliance Councillor John Blair who stands down this week.

Earlier this year Newtownabbey Borough Council announced that their funding for the centre, which provides outreach advice centres in Glengormley and Bawnmore, would be dropping by £47,000 to £170,000.

The Bureau deals with over 30,000 enquiries a year, recovers around £3million in reclaimed benefits for local people and the local economy and provides advice on a daily basis on debt and other problems

“In increasingly difficult economic times it is crucial that government, both local and national, recognises the growing need for advice services and professional debt management,” said Cllr Blair.

“I am hopeful that as CAB continues its work in the current trying times politicians at all levels will engage with it, become more familiar with the work carried out and support it in every way.”

Cllr Blair paid tribute to the work that the CAB does.

“My election as a local councillor means I cannot continue as Chair of CAB as Newtownabbey Council is a core funder. Management, staff and volunteers at the bureau work hard year in and year out to give assistance to those who need it most. Their work must continued to be backed up by giving proper priority to the funding required to provide this service. Words from me could not pay appropriate tribute to the hard work of those involved in running Newtownabbey CAB.”