Sunday, 9 January 2011

Legal Aid Cuts

Legal Aid cuts – the quick version!

The Government is proposing to cut civil legal aid, which helps people deal with debt, housing, benefits, immigration, family law and many other issues. This will leave tens of thousands of vulnerable people without access to help and support to access their rights, and will result in destitution, debt and homelessness. The amount of money being cut equals a tiny percentage of the deficit, and is a true false economy as all the research shows that early advice saves the state money in the long-run. You can help us challenge these proposals by sending a letter to your MP asking them to oppose the proposals and by submitting a response to the consultation – a suggested response and sample MP letters are available here. For more details on the proposals please read the information below. Thank you for your help!

Legal Aid cuts – the longer version!

What will you do the next time you need help with benefits? Or when you are unfairly dismissed? Or when your landlord refuses to fix the leak in the roof that is making everything you own damp and mouldy?

If your answer was ‘Get some legal advice’ then get it while you can, as the government are going to take away Legal Aid funding for all of these kind of cases and many more – this is going to result in tens of thousands of people not being able to get advice in future. The government states that the rest of the voluntary sector will be able to pick up the pieces, but this simply isn’t true – thousands of voluntary sector agencies, like Citizens Advice Bureaux and Law Centres, are funded via legal aid and local authorities, so will be reducing services at a time when they are most needed. These changes will leave people living in disrepair, leave people without money to eat or heat their homes, and will leave people struggling with debts they cannot manage – all of which will cost the state more money in the long run than they will save by cutting the funding for advice to deal with the problems. Advice agency clients did not profit from the boom years, and certainly did not cause the bust – why are they now made to suffer to help the government balance the books?

Access to justice for all is essential in a democratic society; these proposed cuts are simply not fair as they hit the poorest the hardest.

How can people help to make a difference?

  • Write to your MP and or local councillor, sample letters are available from your local advice centre or on
  • Comment on the government’s proposals by February 14th 2011: - suggested responses are available on the Advicewest website.
  • Join our Facebook campaign: ‘Say No to Legal Aid Cuts in the South West’
  • Join us for a demonstration outside the South-West offices of the Legal Services Commission: Queens Square, Bristol, 7/02/11 from 12noon.

Thanks for your help – future users of legal advice service will thank you too!


  1. I can't understand their logic. ALL these benefit cuts account for a very small part of the overall budget. It would be much easier to just raise taxes. Richer able people should just understand that they will have to work a little bit more/longer/harder, but that is a small price to pay for a proper society. Why is that so hard to understand?

  2. I also need to say that the "accessible" is anything but accessible.

  3. The reason they are doing this is to remove that which would help people to fight THEM!

    They are the ones making things into a fight - And they know without the help of legal aid - The little people will not have the means to fight THEM!

    They are total scum - Attacking the weakest members of society and then removing any and all help they may have.

    And they SAID they would care before they got in - What a crock that was!

    I will NEVER ever vote Conservative - EVER! - I will NEVER vote Liberal - In fact I will probably never vote as they all are a bunch of lying )(&&$^^$'s and if this is transparency - God knows what it feels like when you are stuck in a leaden box - There is no transparency here - Only lies and attacking of the weakest of society.
    This Government holds no humanity within it - Holds no care - They harp on and on and on about how this deficit is the reason - Its all lies - If they made people pay the tax they owed instead of letting them off - They would have more money than they will reap attacking the weakest. If they put VAT up another 2.5% they would have ALL the money they would ned - Everyohne would pay a part - Put up Income Tax by 2p and theres the rest - The wealthiest would pay more.

    OK Call me stupid (yes maybe I am) But at least that way the meek would not be the ones paying the price for this sorry excuse for a governments needs.

  4. Hello, there is another aspect of this that you've not mentioned - that all Legal Aid for Education cases is due to be cut.

    This will significantly disadvantage children with disabilities who have Special Educational Needs and their parents who need help to appeal for a Statement of SEN, fight an inappropriate school place, appeal to the Upper Tribunal against an unlawful decision etc.

    Just to rub it in, the language in this document suggests that children are likely to be 'guilty' in these situations - that their conduct arises from "personal choice", eg conduct at school. (no mention of disability which can be the root of such problems)

    It also states that Legal Aid can be withdrawn because SEN Tribunals
    are accessible to lay people to self represent (a nonsense that the government love to repeat), and because alternative support is available from parent partnerships (funded by local authorities so not independent and often biased) and charities!

    Specialist advice services will be severely hit by this.

    I fear this point is being lost in all the other cuts.

  5. Cuts have already taken place ahead of formal announcements, the culmination effect may be as much as a 75% reduction in ATW grants. It is reported deaf are already having difficulty getting access to interview support. No interview no job.

    The new law proposed banning discrimination claims for at least the first year, and the no come-back on employers for sacking with no reason, does not make the UK look good.

    Employers said they wanted freedom to sack at any time to avoid litigation taking place at tribunals, Cameron has opted to let the 'carry on discriminating'.... If we don't fight back we're finished.

  6. Access to Work is a slightly different issue from this, but it's a very serious one. I'm currently having a long, exhausting battle with them over getting support workers. I can only imagine the difficulty those who need support at the interview stage are having. Personally, I'm in a 'no support worker, no job' situation, and there appears to be no right of appeal and no transparent process of assigning support. Definitely something that we should be raising awareness of, especially with the government claiming they will give lots of support to disabled people who want to work. Which appears to be a blatant lie.

  7. EVERYTHING this so-called Transparent Govt says is a BLATANT LIE. Every woprd they have spoken is a lie! They promised to look after the sick, the old, the disabled, the people - They promised - THE MILLISECOND THEY WERE IN POWER THEY STAMPED ON THE LOT OF US!