New research by the University of Bath has found that cuts to Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) services will cause significant costs being incurred by other public services.
By analysing services for Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES), the research suggests that for every £1 invested, CAB services return £50 in economic and social value.
Its findings also reflect the importance of the CAB for vulnerable clients; those dependent on its services but with few or no other sources of help or advice.
Of the 28,500 people who work for the CAB nationwide, 21,500 are volunteers who take on a range of roles from advice to fundraising, admin, campaigning and trusteeship. CAB volunteers also include a number of former professionals able to provide specialist pro-bono advice to clients across different areas.
Latest research from the Institute for Policy Research (IPR) highlights the range of outcomes which are linked to CAB support, most significantly the alleviation of poverty through income gain, debts managed, homelessness prevented and mental health problems alleviated.
Report author, Dr Susan Milner from the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, said: “Our research highlights that CAB advice provides significant social return on investment. On costs in, to costs out, it represents remarkable value for money.
“In the context of austerity, reducing funding and coverage of advice services to save money runs the risk of higher costs to the public purse, as advice plays a vital preventative role.
“If the coverage of the CAB is reduced, it is likely to limit the ability of individuals to access services up to a point where it is too late to prevent greater – and more expensive – problems occurring.”
Chair of the Trustees for CAB Bath & North East Somerset, Richard Samuel said: “We welcome this important report as it confirms the vital role in the community performed by the Citizens Advice Bureau and the fantastic value for money our service provides.”