AFTER a public outcry Redditch Council has made an embarrassing u-turn on plans to cut rent reduction on charity and voluntary organisations in the town.

The Advertiser reported that a number of vital voluntary and community groups could face closure after the council said it was looking to stop its rent reduction scheme.

One group, REACH CIC, which provides services to some of Redditch's most disadvantaged people, called the plans "an assault on vulnerable people in Redditch".

Liz Williams, from REACH CIC, said that the effect of the council stopping the reduction would be huge.

"It would increase REACH’s rent bills by £8,000 per year," she said. "We simply can’t afford this.

"In other words, we would have to close and every service and group, all the help and advice, the support and just being here, will end."

However, the council has now said it has "decided to review" its recent rent support recommendations.

Executive members of Redditch Council are set to meet with voluntary and community sector representatives to "forge a way forward".

Cllr David Thain, whose portfolio covers corporate management, said: “We have listened to the voices which have come from the VCS over the past few days and want to get round the table.

“We recognise the invaluable work these groups provide to the borough but we have to still recognise that this council faces tough financial challenges.”

The controversial plans were set to be discussed by council chiefs at a meeting on Tuesday but after rumours of protests and hundreds of angry people expected to turn up it has been pulled.

It is anticipated a new report, including the reform to concessionary grants and future alternatives, will go before councillors in December.

Redditch Council leader Matt Dormer added: “We face tough decisions and we are not retreating from making these, but rather are going to look for other sources to help our valued VCS organisations to continue to exist in the borough, and with their help I am sure this can be achieved.”