HUNTINGDONSHIRE Citizens’ Advice Bureaux will finally close their doors to the public in Huntingdon, St Neots and satellite offices at the end of November – a month sooner than their sponsor, Huntingdonshire District Council expected.

The council is now bent on putting in place a replacement advice service to bridge the gap until April next year when a new contract is due to come into effect.

But so, too, are major changes to the welfare rules, so the availability of independent advice between December and March will be vital, HDC leader Councillor Jason Ablewhite told The Hunts Post yesterday (Tuesday).

"We are currently evaluating two tenders to provide the long-term service, but we are having to work quickly with volunteers in trying to put in an interim service," he added. "But I'm confident that we shall come up with a solution."

HDC had been working on the assumption that, when the CAB trustees said they would withdraw at the end of the year, the advice service would continue until Christmas, but the revelation that the doors would close on November 30 came "as a bombshell".

Nonetheless, there is budget provision to keep the advice service going.

CAB chairman Michael Mealing said the trustees had appointed a liquidator formally on Monday. The advice service would stop at the end of the month to enable the offices to be cleared during December.

"You have to withdraw the giving of advice before you can settle everything down," he explained.