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Welcome to the first ever LegalAware podcast. I am sorry for the sound quality. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it’s recorded on a very busy Regents Park Road, which can be busier than the #m6. Secondly, I am still getting used to the #yeti microphone and Audacity. Notwithstanding these problem, Alan (@AlanROYGBIV) joins me for a explanation of the neurological condition of ataxia, which we both have, what Ataxia UK is, and how the welfare benefit cuts are a tragedy for society, including disabled citizens like us.
The Guardian carried this ‘live blog‘ earlier today.
Steve Hynes is the director of the Legal Action Group (LAG). LAG is a charity that through its publishing and training services plays an important role in increasing lawyers’ and advisers’ knowledge of the law. It also carries out policy and campaigning work mainly focused on publicly funded legal services, advocating for the voice of the end-user to be heard.
This was one of the letters, by Steve Hynes of the “Legal Action Group”, published earlier today:
These legal aid cuts are penny wise, but pound foolish. The bulk of them fall on the sort of face to face advice services which can deal with legal problems before they spiral out of control and lead to expensive court cases.
LAG calculates that the £49m in legal aid cuts to housing, welfare benefits, debt and employment will ultimately cost the government £286.2 million in costs to other public services. In other words, £1 of expenditure on civil legal help saves the government around £6 in other public expenditure.
Advice on benefits for example is excluded from the legal aid scheme under the Bill (see schedule 1 part 2 s15). At a time when the government is in the process of introducing the Welfare Reform Bill they are cutting off people’s means to get advice on benefits. It’s hard not to conclude this is a conspiracy against the very poorest to deny them access to justice.
Legal action group