The Church of Scotland has urged Glasgow Council to scrap what it calls “reckless” proposals to cut funding from advice centres.
The Presbytery of Glasgow argued that it was “incomprehensible” to reduce funding during a health crisis which has resulted in mass job losses and widescale financial hardship.
George Kelly, convener of the Presbytery’s community responsibility committee wrote a letter to the leader of Glasgow City Council, Susan Aitken, to outline his concerns:
"At a time when an increasing number of vulnerable and disadvantaged people are in need of the invaluable support provided locally by such organisations, it seems incomprehensible that their survival could be threatened without any engagement or consultation with the communities that these groups serve.
“The proposed withdrawal or reduction of funding could potentially affect many groups which are widely respected and have a long and successful track record in working with people who struggle against poverty.
“It seems extremely likely that as the long term consequences of dealing with COVID-19 emerge, the number of people requiring help from such organisations will only increase.
“I urge you and your colleagues to protect and sustain funding for these groups while we continue to struggle with the pandemic and its consequences."
Very Rev Dr Susan Brown, convener of the Faith Impact Forum of the Church of Scotland, also urged Glasgow City Council to reconsider the its proposals.
“People Make Glasgow, and so it is essential that people and communities are involved in decisions which affect them,” she said.
“The voices and ideas and experiences of people who struggle against poverty should be heard and included in decisions that have an impact on them.
“It seems reckless to consider such substantial changes to vital community funding at the time when people are continuing to deal with the urgency of responding to COVID-19.”
Last month, a Change.org petition was set up to save five of Glasgow's Citizen's Advice locations, noting that closure would "devastate our city's poorest and most vulnerable".
The petition organisers wrote: "If they disappear it will leave many of our most vulnerable in the city’s deprived areas without access to vital independent, impartial advice on matters such as debt management and welfare benefits, housing, domestic abuse, immigration and asylum, employment issues & tribunals, consumer complaints, and landlord-tenant disputes to name a few.
"The Citizen’s Advice Bureau is an absolute necessity to help thousands of individuals and families across Glasgow and the rest of Scotland."
The petition has over 11,000 signatures at the time of writing.
Premier has reached out to Glasgow City Council for comment regarding the proposed funding cuts. We will update this article as soon as we receive a response.