A CITIZEN'S advice bureau in East Lancs has been offered a grant life-line for the next few months amid the cost-of-living crisis.

But Ribble Valley CAB has also been asked to clarify what it is doing to find alternative income by borough council chiefs. Councillors on the Tory-controlled authority say the CAB has historically received over half of all grant funding for voluntary organisations. Now the council wants a a rethink, amid competing requests for grants.

Borough leader Cllr Stephen Atkinson said: "“Ribble Valley Council is doing more than any other council in Lancashire, and most of the rest of England, to help our residents finances by letting them keep as much of their money as possible."

He told colleagues 16,000 eligible households have received a council tax rebate, pensioners were receiving assistance through the Household Support Fund and the borough is also supporting Clitheroe Food Bank.

But Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Stewart Fletcher said: “Other councils have declared a cost-of-living emergency. Does the leader believe there is anything else we could do to support struggling residents?

Cllr Atkinson added: “Having a low council tax and efficient services helps all of our residents. In addition, we have the council tax energy rebate grant, household support fund and our council tax benefit scheme. We will ensure any future government initiatives that come along are administered by the council in the efficient way we have dealt with previous schemes.”

Cllr Mary Robinson, another Lib Dem, said: "There are no more vulnerable people than the ones who feel they need the CAB. Many people who use it don’t like to be seen, so a lot of cases are dealt with over the telephone.

“We are proud to support lots of different groups which apply for funds. The CAB does not charge and does not make a profit."

The CAB has been asked about its business plans beyond March 2023, should more grant money be made available. It has also been asked about fundraising activities or applications for funding elsewhere.

Cllr Atkinson added: "The (finance) committee will look at this again in September. They are looking to make it a sustainable proposition. Historically, Ribble Valley CAB has been one of the highest-funded in Lancashire. It is still taking more than half of our voluntary grant budget.

"We have heard about other organisations, such as food banks or organisations keeping people warm through the winter. We want the CAB to be a success but there are competing organisations and issues.”