Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill Second Reading CPAG briefing paper

June 2011

The Ministry of Justice plans to "save" £22 million by removing welfare benefits matters from the scope of legal aid funding. CPAG opposes this move because advice and representation on welfare rights is a vital tool to help people living in poverty. Social security is a highly complex and fast changing area of law. Even if it is simplified by the Government’s welfare reform proposals, this is likely to take years to achieve. In the meantime, claimants will be deprived of vital advice at a time of major upheaval in the system - leading to increased poverty, debt, and homelessness.