Citizens Advice Bureau offices across Birmingham are to stay open after a bitter row between the city council and bureau managers was finally resolved.
The five offices had been set to close - depriving residents of essential advice as spending cuts mean hundreds of public sector jobs are lost in the city.
But managers at the Birmingham Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) network and senior councillors managed to hammer out their differences at a crunch meeting.
The CAB is to apply to a Government fund which is to provide £100 million to voluntary and charitable bodies across the country.
It will also apply for a share of a £310,000 council fund designed to help community bodies cope with changes to the way the authority funds local organisations.
The CAB became embroiled in a war of words with the city council, after the authority announced it was ending its £600,000 funding on March 31.
A new council fund will be available from August, but the CAB insisted it could not continue providing services if it was forced to operate without council funding over a four month period.
Offices in the city centre, Kingstanding, Tyseley, Handsworth and Northfield were all set to close their doors last Friday.
But the battle appeared to be over, following a meeting attended by CAB chief executive Yvonne Davies, Deputy council leader Paul Tilsley and Birmingham Yardley MP John Hemming (Lib Dem).
The CAB has received assurances that the council intends to continue supporting it, although there were no firm promises of funding.
It has also said it is willing to consider ways it can reduce costs.
Ms Davies said: “We are going to continue meeting to look at how we can have a long-term vibrant advice service in Birmingham.
“At the moment we will not be closing any of our open-door advice services.”
Coun Tilsley said: “We have explored a whole range of issues to try to help the CAB continue providing a service to the people of Birmingham.
“There was a feeling of goodwill around the table.”
Mr Hemming said: “I believe that independent advice services help the people of Birmingham. I am pleased that Birmingham CAB is remaining open.”
Labour MPs said the council still needed to guarantee the future of the CAB offices.
Jack Dromey (Lab Erdington) said: “The door is open but warm words are not enough.
“Crucially, the council now has to deliver the support the CAB deserves.
“Birmingham’s Labour MPs will now meet with Ministers to press the case for Birmingham CAB.”