Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jun 12, 2011 14:18:53 GMT
From the Charity Times
By Andrew Holt
Friday saw thousands of community associations, charities, firms, members of the public and politicians mount local action across the UK in the run up to events marking today’s Justice for All Day of Action in support of maintaining legal aid for the poor and vulnerable.
Cuts to legal aid are being proposed in the UK.
These cuts, campaigners say, would leave the poorest people unable to challenge unscrupulous landlords, abusive bosses, and violent partners.
From silent gagged marches in Gloucester and Birmingham, Lady Godiva leading the way with Coventry politicians, Hastings hosting a seafront march, thousands signing petitions with shoppers in Sheffield, Tunbridge Wells and Newcastle, a Wales-wide petition, to face-painting and a protest in front of the Supreme Court in London, communities are campaigning for fair access to justice for all.
“Thousands of desperate people across Coventry would be silenced by these cuts," said Sue Bent from Coventry Law Centre.
She added: ”Over 8000 vulnerable people come to us every year to get fair treatment at work, safe shelter, manage their debts and support their families while they seek work. Where will they go now?”
Steve Woodcock from St Paul’s Advice Centre in Bristol, noted: "The proposals are outrageous and will reduce access to justice for many individuals and families who are more likely to face injustice due to discrimination and poverty,” said Steve Woodcock from St Paul’s Advice Centre in Bristol.
“This government seems determined to increase the gap between those that have and those that don't."
Erika Helps, from Rhondda Taff Citizens Advice bureau, said: "This really is a false economy - we know our early legal advice saves the public purse between £2 and £9 for every £1 invested by solving people's problems before they spiral out of control.
"We are joining in the Day of Action, and will continue gathering signatures to a Wales-wide petition calling on the government in Wales to support advice services over the summer."
Elspeth Thomson from David Gray Solicitors, added: “The government is being very gung-ho about slashing the legal aid budget without properly looking at the impact on the whole of society.
“Thousands of people across the north-east will not be able to get the legal advice they need to sort out problems.”
The Justice for All campaign is calling for the advice which keeps families together in their homes, and in work and education to be maintained and bureaucracy to be cut before front line services.