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Charity advice sector facing £100m shortfall

The charity advice sector will be at least £100m a year worse off by 2013/14, reveals the Justice for All campaign as it launches new research into the state of not for profit advice agencies and calls on the Chancellor to earmark significantly more cash for their long-term future in today's budget.

The charity advice sector will be at least £100m a year worse off by 2013/14, reveals the Justice for All campaign as it launches new research into the state of not for profit advice agencies and calls on the Chancellor to earmark significantly more cash for their long-term future in today's budget.
In a poll of over 200 community advice organisations, three quarters reported serious funding cuts in the last year, with 1 in 5 facing cuts so severe that their survival is under threat.
Justice for All warns that government must protect legal aid for advice on complex problems and help cover the shortfall from other funding sources if the country's highly-valued network of local centres is to remain intact.
The Government must put its money where its mouth is when it comes to advice. Politicians of all parties and Ministers have repeatedly said they know how valuable free advice is in our communities.
Yet advice agencies are facing a desperate struggle just to stay afloat, as they see funding sources dry up one after the other.  Local authority and other cuts this year and next total more than £50m, and charities stand to lose another £51m once the Legal Aid cuts come in during 2013.
In the survey, 81% of charities predict they will be able to help fewer people in future, despite rising demand. Over half reported cutting back on services for people with the most complex problems and a third are having to cut back on the number of volunteers, as they cannot afford training or support.
The Government must take responsibility and pay to mop up problems caused by its own bad decisions, for example on welfare benefits. Legal aid must continue to help with these complex legal issues, which is why we also urge Government to keep the welfare benefit amendment to the Legal Aid Bill, one of seven won in the Lords earlier this month.
The full report report can be viewed here  www.justice-for-all.org.uk.

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