27 June 2011
Managers at Coventry Law Centre have hit out at the contents of the Government’s White Paper on legal aid, published on Wednesday 21st June. They have called on local MPs to vote against the proposals.
“We were lost for words when we saw the contents of the new White Paper,” said Sue Bent, Director of Coventry Law Centre. “Over 5,000 organisations ranging from advice agencies, national and local charities - even judges - responded to the consultation on these proposals.
“Not one of them was in favour of the plans to cut access to advice in this way.
“Despite the mountains of evidence sent in, the government has only made minor changes in their White Paper. It’s just a case of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
“Over 2,000 people in Coventry will be left without any way of enforcing their rights when they are faced with employment, welfare benefits, housing or debt problems. Justice should not only be available to those who can afford to pay for it.
“These proposals are economic madness. Legal Aid is excellent value for money. For every one pound of legal aid spent at a Law Centre, £10 of value is created in savings and additional benefits.
“If legal problems are not resolved, other public services like the NHS, local authorities and the court service will have to pick up the pieces at a higher cost to the taxpayer.
“Early advice, often costing well under two hundred pounds in legal aid, can nip problems in the bud - a much more efficient use of public funds.”
Jim Cunningham MP, Geoffrey Robinson MP and Bob Ainsworth MP have all expressed opposition to the proposed cuts and the Law Centre has written today to ask them to vote against the Bill when it receives its second reading on Wednesday.