Advice Sector Offices Face Closure

Posted on 20 March, 2013 by MOVEHUT

Cuts to legal aid is forcing the closure of nearly a third of Shelter’s housing advice centres and pushing the Red Cross to abandon its support for family reunions, the organisations claim. The final decision to close down nine Shelter offices across England this month, with the loss of 80 to 100 jobs is blamed on the removal of funding for legal advice and representation for routine housing applications from 1 April this year.

Keele University will be plugging the gap by training community legal companions

The British Red Cross says the budget cuts will force it to take away expert help to those trying to bring their children into the United Kingdom to escape persecution and violence abroad and has declared the government’s economies as an assault on “family life”. Citizen Advice Bureaux are also sending out redundancy letters.

Shelter has been forced to close down nine advice centres in Rotherham, Dover, Ashford, Milton Keynes, Cheshire, Somerset, Gloucester, Hertfordshire and Cumbria.

Head of policy at the British Red Cross, Jonathan Ellis said: “We are going to have to turn people away. We are not going to be able to provide the full support we have in the past.

“We have been supporting around 10,000 clients a year. I cannot believe the government really intends to do this. It is supposed to be in favour of family friendly policies.”

Cuts to legal aid have coincided with pressure on the local government spending, increasing financial pressures on advice centres. Harlow Council has removed funding from a local advice centre and is now facing a legal review challenge over its decision. The council says it is funding a CAB in the town.

Most independent law centres are likely to survive by being creative with their limited resources. Low level charging has begun for advice in some cases and £65m of lottery and government money has been made available to cover a “transition” period.

Other adaptations are expected. Lawyers are likely to be asked to offer more legal assistance on a free, or pro-bono, basis. At Teeside University, law students are offering free assistance and some representation to the local community, while Keele University is working in partnership with the judiciary, law profession and third sector to train “community legal companions” to provide support to litigants fighting cases on their own.

Lord McNally, the justice minister said: “The advice sector has an important contribution to make and I recognise government has a role to play in supporting charities as they adapt to new funding realities. That’s why we, with the Big Lottery Fund, are providing £65m for this over the next two years. But charities cannot escape the tough decisions councils, government departments and others have to make in the current economic climate.”

Related Posts

    No related posts found for this post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Posts

The latest property data has identified Newquay as the fastest property seller’s market in the UK

Investing in your garden can increase your property’s value

French Riviera temping high-end homebuyers

How can the ownership rights of my commercial property impact a business sale?

Should I incorporate virtual property viewings permanently?

Investment expected to increase across Asia-Pacific in 2021

UK property industry slows as the conclusion of tax break looms

BNP Paribas cautioned investors on Friday as debt-trading bonanza that increased its earnings this past year

Over 300,000 property purchases fell through in 2020 – we show the most frequent motives and the best way to get your house sale back on track

House Prices in the Capital Surpass £500,000

Optimism from the Bank of England’s chief economist

The most expensive commercial properties.

Businesses operating from shared premises will miss out on grants

BA cuts 12,000 jobs, unions hit back

Media Streaming Service See Record Subscriptions

Covid-19 Causes Millions To Claim UK Furlough Scheme