MP advice visit

MP Yvette Cooper (blue top) visits Pontefract Citizen's Advice Bureau to talk about the increased number of people using their service. She is pictured talking to Liz Halliday from CAB. (P502D250)
MP Yvette Cooper (blue top) visits Pontefract Citizen's Advice Bureau to talk about the increased number of people using their service. She is pictured talking to Liz Halliday from CAB. (P502D250)

MP Yvette Cooper learned more about issues facing users of Pontefract Citizens’ Advice Bureau during a visit to the centre on Friday.

Ms Cooper spoke with CAB staff during the visit, which marked the first anniversary of its move from the town centre to the Thornycroft Centre on Halfpenny Lane.

Liz Halliday, Wakefield CAB chief executive, said: “We really wanted to show her round and talk to her about our work and what we are doing here.

“We also wanted to tell Ms Cooper about the service, our funding for next year and the sort of issues people are bringing to us.

“It’s very useful to keep communication open with our local MPs, because we often get involved in campaigns on social issues and, if we are seeing an increase in certain areas, it usually alerts us to something wider going on.”

About 75 per cent of the queries Pontefract CAB handles relate to debt and benefit changes, with a rise in the latter due to government changes coming into force next year.

Last year Pontefract CAB saw around 3,200 people with benefit problems and nearly 5,000 facing debt problems, with housing and employment issues making up most of the rest of the queries it deals with.

Mrs Halliday added: “Pontefract is by far the busiest of our outreach bureaux. Thornycroft is a well-known and well-used building, and there are a lot of community groups using it that benefit from us being here.”

Ms Cooper said: “The people who work at the CAB in Pontefract provide a vital service to help people who have a range of issues. I really welcome the work the CAB is doing – it’s vital families have somewhere to turn.”

Pontefract CAB is open on a drop-in basis on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am to 1pm, with appointments available at other times. Contact 0844 499 4138 for more information.