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MSE News: MPs' anger at debt advice cuts

"Opposition members are worried dodgy firms will prey upon indebted consumers due to cuts to free advice centres ..."
Read the full story:
MPs' anger at debt advice cuts



  • superbargainhunter
    Dear all
    It's not just the end of the Financial Inclusion Fund - the consultation on the cuts to legal aid will end on Mon 14th Feb - so please act NOW!

    :money:Martin please use all media appearances to publise this campaign eg R4 You and Yours on Fri at 12noon. Please make a huge fuss about this - you can really help us.
    Please do an emergency email to everyone who has signed up for the weekly email -just about this - it is that important.

    Everyone please sign the petition Say no to legal aid cuts - google it and you will find the petition.

    Please everyone - cut and paste this and email it to everyone you know and get them to contact their MP.

    Please use some of the following and use "write to them" - (google it)
    to contact your MP about this. The more fuss we make the better the chance of stopping this happening.

    Legal aid is not just for lawyers - all advice agencies including the CAB are funded by legal aid for specialist advice eg debt, welfare, housing and employment. The total cuts to legal aid amount to £25m - this is not much in the context of government spending, but provides essential advice for some of the most vulnerable people in society.

    According to Gillian Guy, the Chief Executive of CAB, these cuts to legal aid - together with cuts to funding from local goverment will cut the income of the average CAB by 45%. This will mean bureaux closing.

    According to the Citizens Advice Cost benefit analysis, July 2010, based on data from the Civil and Social Justice Survey and the Legal Service Commission's outcomes data:
    Every £1 spent on housing legal aid potentially saves the state £2.34 by avoiding adverse consequences.
    Every £1 spent on debt legal aid potentially saves the state £2.98 in adverse consequences.
    Every £1 spent on benefits legal aid potentially saves the state £8.80.
    Every £1 spent on employment legal aid potentially saves the state £7.13.
    Source: Citizen's Advice (july 2010) Towards a business case for legal aid.

    According to Julie Bishop, Director of the Law Centres Federation, the proposed cuts to legal aid will have perverse conseqences.
    The changes propose that you will only get housing legal aid if you are in "imminent danger" of losing your home.
    If your landlord evicts you illegally - by changing the locks while you are at work and dumping your possessions on the pavement - you will not be able to get legal aid because you will have already lost your home.
    If your landlord employs a solicitor and takes you to court to evict you legally - you will be able to get legal aid as you will be in imminent danger of losing your home.
    This will build into the system an incentive for landlords to evict people illegally and we expect an increase in illegal evictions.

    Good quality timely intervention acts to prevent client's problems from becoming major crises. Please ask the government to stop these cuts to legal aid.

    Please stop this happening and fight the cuts. I am a volunteer at my local bureau and heard Julie Bishop speak at a conference yesterday (Mon 8th Feb) which is why I can quote her.
  • SwipernoSwiping
    Totally agree that the cuts to this service should be stopped. So many people need this when they hit rock bottom - when bad things happen..(usually those thing that you think will never happen) if you are on a low income then you simply can not afford a solicitor even with their free half hour - No offence to the many legal eagles that do so much good -
    While I suspect the Govt will unvail some super idea to replace it - the undercurrent suggests it might well be as flawed if not more so.
    You have my signiture superbargainhunter and as many more as I can send that way.
  • lemonjelly
    lemonjelly Posts: 8,014 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post Mortgage-free Glee!
    I work in Birmingham. I have learned that if a person has debts with the council for rent or council tax, they are now declining to liaise with CABx & insisting the person is sent to the council instead.

    I have also seen Blakemores (a fee charging debt management company) are advertisiing in Birmingham stating that "as CABx are closing, we are here...".

    It is disgusting.
    It's getting harder & harder to keep the government in the manner to which they have become accustomed.
  • lemonjelly
    lemonjelly Posts: 8,014 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post Mortgage-free Glee!
    In addition to the above, I noticed that at least 1 MP on ITN yesterday really laid into Birmingham council about their complete witdrawal of funding to Birmingham CAB.

    I am aware that Birmingham CAB is under threat, & it has set up facebook profiles, as well as being on local bbc news, and I believe ITN news last night.

    Here is the link for Birmingham CAB where it has been on the local BBC news: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-12279218

    There is a facebook page supporting the fight to keep the CAB service going: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Birmingham-CABs-free-independent-impartial-legal-advice/150270275026678

    And finally there is a petition to keep the service open: http://www.gopetition.com/petition/42339.html

    I've been sharing this wherever possible. I'll also add this to your thread.

    It seems disingenuous to promote a big society idea, then remove an exemplary organisation which provides volunteering opportunities.

    We are also in a situation where more than ever, people need access to good, accurat and independent money advice. Currently, Birmingham council have started refusing to deal with the CAB. Anyone with rent/council tax arrears is being told to see the councils debt team. How independent are they? Will they really act in the clients best interests? I doubt it. Birmingham CAB dealt with over £84million of debt last year. We continue in a significant economic downturn. People still need the help and support of others. It is up to us to keep such issues in the public eye.
    It's getting harder & harder to keep the government in the manner to which they have become accustomed.
  • SwipernoSwiping
    already got my sig on there LJ - keep up the good work!:T
  • davidgmmafan
    "Currently, Birmingham council have started refusing to deal with the CAB"

    I'm pretty sure they can't do that. I thought if you had signed authority someone culd act on your behalf? Putting it another way, even if this isn't a legal right, they would look very stupid if it went to court or similar and the council rep was standing up saying yes we did recieve the signed authority and request to CAB with sensible offers of repayment but we chose to totally ignore it.
    Mixed Martial Arts is the greatest sport known to mankind and anyone who says it is 'a bar room brawl' has never trained in it and has no idea what they are talking about.
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