Claimants will no longer be able to get legal aid for welfare benefits help under the terms of the Legal Aid bill published yesterday. Debt and employment help are also to be axed along with much housing advice, resulting in massive funding cuts to many advice agencies.

The government ignored an overwhelming 90% of the responses to its consultation on the cuts, all arguing against ending legal aid for social welfare law and warning of the hardship and injustice that would result.

Whilst some advice agencies, have no legal aid funding, many rely on legal aid to pay for full-time advice and debt worker posts. Income from legal aid also helps to fund administration, management and running costs of agencies.

The loss of such a vital source of funding, 50% or more of the income of some agencies, will lead to drastic cuts in services and closures. It will also mean that claimants will struggle even more to find anyone to help them with claims or appeals.

From the DWP’​s point of view it is likely to mean fewer appeals being lodged and very many fewer appeals to higher courts to challenge unfair practices and inaccurate interpretations of the law.

The legal aid bill can be downloaded from this link.


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