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Wales and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau

The Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) Service1 was formed at the outbreak of the Second World War as a means of providing advice and information to the citizens of Britain’s cities, which would enable them to deal with the large- scale disruption associated with war. Since this period, it has acted as an independent, membership-based organization, which has provided support and guidance to British citizens facing all manner of welfare, financial or consumer difficulties.

The CAB Service, and individual bureaux, have in many ways enabled a British citizenship; it has encouraged British citizens to access their welfare rights. At the same time, it has encouraged them to be more active in their citizenship by volunteering to act as CAB advisers. I want to argue in this paper that the CAB Service – and most specifically the way in which it has manifested itself in Wales – has much to say about the changing place of Wales within the broader UK as well as more conceptual issues relating to the character of citizen identities more generally.