Calls to save five of the city's Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) and two law centres were made earlier this afternoon outside the city chambers as protestors urged the authority to rethink proposed funding cuts.

The demonstration comes after we exclusively told how Glasgow City Council officials recommended to reject 134 charities, groups, programmes and organisations from millions of pounds worth of lifeline funding.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: 'Every community in Glasgow could be harmed': Over 100 charities and groups could be rejected from lifeline funding

The council had received an influx of applications for the Glasgow Communities Fund, totalling to £135 million. There was however only £48 million worth of grants made available.

Protestors from the city's free advice sector united in the city centre as the decision to knock back the funding may force the closure of Castlemilk Law Centre, Drumchapel Money Advice Centre, the Castlemilk Bureaux, Bridgeton Bureau, Parkhead Bureau, Easterhouse Bureaux and Glasgow Central Bureaux.

Glasgow Times:

Kate McCallum, manager of the Castlemilk CAB, told the Glasgow Times: “Yet again, we find ourselves in a situation where the local authority has dealt it necessary to cut third-sector projects.

“This happened in 1985, 2012 and now it is happening again in 2020. We have been fighting for the rights of our local communities since 1979.

“If our service disappears – and the law centre which is under threat as well – there are no advice provision services at all in Castlemilk. Where do they go?

“It will impact the community in so many ways. We get people coming to our door who don’t have phones. If you’re living on benefits you can’t afford a phone. Then we have elders who don’t have the internet and don’t know how to use digital platforms.

“We have got a system to make claims and that is what we are there for. We hold hands and we help people.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Glasgow City Council announces £4 million 'transition fund' after bids to reject 134 groups from lifeline cash

A briefing held earlier by CAB revealed the closures would affect over 12,000 people living in Glasgow who rely upon their services. The knockback would also cause 66 redundancies alongside the loss of 149 volunteers within the CAB centres alone.

The authority has today announced a £4 million "transition fund" outwith the Glasgow Communities Fund for groups and charities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Those eligible to apply for the grants include the advice sector, violence against women organisations and communities of interest and equalities groups.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Over 12,000 people in Glasgow to be affected by 'horrifying' impact of Citizens Advice closures

Kate added: “What we really want is not to be at the vagaries of the local authority. If they get cut, the third-sector gets cut. The CAB and Money Advice services are essential, particularly in light of what is to come.

“If we get funded, I want proper, secure funding. I want funded on a sensible basis. Castlemilk is currently running on a four-day week, that’s all we are funded to do.

“We brought in £1.56 million last year in for the people in the community that we serve and they want to throw that all away. That’s feeding into the local economy and quality of life. If we’re not there to help people, I don’t know who is going to be there.”

Glasgow Times:

Mike Dailly, solicitor and advocate for the Govan Law Centre, welcomed the new fund, however described the bid to reject the 134 groups from the lifeline cash as "sheer lunacy".

He said: “We welcome this funding and we appreciate it but we haven’t seen the details. We don’t know at this stage what it means and whether it is going to protect the advice and law centres in Glasgow we don’t know.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Glasgow has the best progressive and best advice sector in the whole of the UK. Things we have done in Glasgow have benefited people across Scotland and the UK whether that be bank charges campaigns, bedroom tax and so on.

“We’ve done all these things as a community and the idea that you will pick on any one of us is not acceptable.

“There are currently over half a million Scots in severe financial difficulty. When furlough comes to an end in October, there is going to be a serious spike in demand for financial and debt advice. The idea that Glasgow was going to reduce this by 60 per cent when the demand will go up by 100 per cent is sheer lunacy.”

Proposals to establish the £4 million transitional fund will now be put forward outside of the Glasgow Communities Fund, where officers will explore on how to distribute the money. Recommendations will be presented to local representatives in the coming weeks. 

Glasgow Times:

The City Convener for Community Empowerment, Jennifer Layden, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to identify £4 million transitional funding for the advice sector, violence against women organisations, and communities of interest and equalities groups supporting many of those most severely impacted by the pandemic.  We have also identified additional funding for arts organisations.

“The important work provided by these sectors has never been in question and I trust all political groupings on the Council will support this proposal.

“This will bring our investment in the city’s Third Sector to over £60m over the next three years, supporting valuable projects addressing poverty, inequality and discrimination in our communities. This includes millions of pounds provided to organisations that were shut out of the former grant funding process.

“The Leader and I have had constructive discussions with the city’s advice sector and Citizen’s Advice Scotland over the past few days and it is vital that we accelerate work to develop a sustainable future funding model for the sector which diversifies funding sources.

"We’ll be seeking the Scottish Government’s active engagement in this process."

Tomorrow's City Administration Committee will see officials vote on whether to cut £87 million from the city's community law centres, CAB centres, money advice centres and other charities and programmes.

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “Demand for grant support has been exceptional – with applications received for well over double the total value of the fund.

"Unfortunately, this was always going to mean disappointment for some organisations with applications that scored less highly during assessment.

“However, in announcing an additional £4 million in transitional funding for the advice sector and others, on top of the Glasgow Communities Fund, the City Convener has made it clear how much the city values these services – and its readiness to support them in developing a more sustainable funding model.”