THE Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders’ Bill was put forward in Parliament by the government on June 21 2011.
Its effect would be that Legal Aid would be withdrawn for debt matters where the persons home is not at immediate risk, most education and Social Security cases, employment matter, housing disrepair cases, immigration cases where the person is not held in detention and divorce and family cases about children and money unless it is a case involving domestic violence. The main losers from these proposals are people on below average incomes.
The goverment has not fully considered the proposals put forward by the Law Society which offered alternative ways of making the £350 million reduction without cutting Legal Aid.
The cuts are also short sighted as the Citizens Advice Bureau reckons that for every £1 spent on Legal Aid on debt advice the taxpayer would save about £2.98 in knock on costs and for every £1 on welfare benefits advice £8.80.
The government also proposes that fewer people will be eligible for Legal Aid. For example homeowners with a property over £200,000 will not be eligible if they have no other discposable income and little or no equity in their home.
If you are concerned about these matters you can take the up with your local MP. MPs can be contacted at The House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
Marjorie Broadhurst, Stanton Road, Shirley