History of the Citizens Advice Bureau

Portsmouth CAB Horsebox c 1939

Portsmouth Bureau started operation on 4th September 1939 and was one of the initial 20 bureaux, set up to give an emergency service at the beginning of the Second World War. By 1942 there were over 1000 bureaux staffed entirely by volunteers and supported by local councils. A government grant was made to individual bureaux via the Ministry of Health which also funded travelling officers who worked from the national council of social service and a central office.

After the end of the War national funding for individual bureaux was cut and in 1950 all central government help was stopped, three years later the number of bureaux had fallen to a half of the 1948 figure. A central support service was able to continue with grants from charitable trusts, such as the Joseph Rowntree foundation.

In 1957 the Rent Act greatly increased the number of enquiries at CABx and in 1960 government funding was re-introduced. In 1973 the government gave a grant to help with the increasing number of consumer enquiries, as a result more bureaux were opened and the DTI funded the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux which later became simply Citizens Advice.

Since the 1980s the number of enquiries has increased dramatically, with debt, employment and social security being major areas of concern. Citizens Advice Bureaux now deliver advice services from over 2600 community locations in England and Wales, run by 310 registered charities (2014/15).

Cosham Bureau opened its doors in 1963 and operated separately from Portsmouth bureau until the district was formed in the nineties.

Each CAB is an autonomous independent Charity, but we are a member of the association, subscribing to the National Policies and Principles. Portsmouth CAB became a Company Limited by Guarantee in 1994.


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