Legal advice is vital for disabled people if they fall foul of poor decision-making, red tape or administrative error,"​ Scope'​s chief executive Richard Hawkes said. "​For welfare reform to work, disabled people have to get support to appeal decisions relating to their benefits, especially within a system where errors are commonplace.

"​Cutting legal aid in this area will make it harder for disabled people to get the right support and ultimately could drive more people further away from work."​

Citizens Advice has warned the plans could be counter-productive since the £​16m in anticipated savings will be exceeded in the long-term by the costs to the state as peoples'​ problems "​spiral out of control"​.

'​Cuts targeted'​ The Ministry of Justice said the move was necessary as part of plans to scale back the legal aid bill.

"​We have one of the most expensive legal aid systems in the world which in the current financial climate we just cannot continue to afford,"​ a spokeswoman said.

The review of legal aid, she added, would ensure it was "​targeted at the most serious cases and those who most need legal support"​.


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