11 Aug 2022

Increased funding needed for advice services

Advice Provision has remained static since 2015

Increased funding needed for advice services - Cllr Shaun Harkin

A motion calling for increased funding to advice services from the Department for Communities and the Assembly has been ratified by Derry City and Strabane District Council. 

The motion was proposed by Councillor Shaun Harkin (People Before Profit).

Speaking to Derry Now, Cllr Harkin said: "Properly resourced advice services are an absolute necessity at any time but especially now with so many in our communities facing hardship.

"Our motion calling for increased funding to advice services from the Department for Communities and the Assembly was ratified at the June full meeting of Council.

"A previous People Before Profit motion blocked the big parties from pushing through further direct cuts to independent advice services by the Council itself.

"However, absolute funding from Stormont and the Council for advice provision has remained essentially static since 2015. This means funding has been reduced every year since 2015. The scale of the year-on-year funding cut is much greater this year because of rising costs and it's putting further pressure on already overstretched providers to maintain services," said Cllr Harkin.

Cllr Harkin added that given the scale of deprivation faced in the city and district, it should primarily be the responsibility of the Department of Communities and not the Council, to make sure advice provision is properly maintained. 

He said: "Advice services have played a critical role in helping people throughout the pandemic and cost of living crisis. It's essential for advice provision to be strengthened in order for workers to have the resources and pay needed to make sure people across Derry and District get access to help quickly."

Cllr Shaun Harkin's  motion ratified at June full Council:

"Core funding for Advice Provision from Department of Communities and Derry City and Strabane District Council has remained essentially static since 2015.

"This is putting tremendous pressures on our advice providers. Council will take robust action demanding the Department for Communities commit to a significant increase in year-on-year funding for advice provision based on inflationary pressures and based on the scale of need across our District."

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