Cuts to legal aid are forcing the closure of almost a third of Shelter’s housing advice centres and compelling the Red Cross to abandon its assistance for family reunions, the organisations claim.
Family reunions? Why the fiends!
What sort of ‘family’ are we talking about here?
The British Red Cross says the cuts will force it to withdraw expert help to those trying to bring their children into the United Kingdom to escape violence or persecution abroad and has condemned the government’s economies as an assault on “family life”.
Frankly, I consider that an attempt to stop an assault on my family life (and tax burden)!
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “We are going to lose about £3m a year in legal aid. Lots of benefit and welfare changes, like the bedroom tax, are coming into effect in April, just at the time that the government has cut back on legal advice. It’s the perfect storm.
“We will see more people getting into the court system more quickly because we used to be able to give early, preventative advice but will no longer be able to provide that service.”
Hurrah! Quicker justice! What’s not to like?
The Red Cross says that 90% of the refugees it currently works with require legal aid to argue their case that their children or close relatives should be able to join them in the UK.
Jonathan Ellis, head of policy at the British Red cross, 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.”
Yes, it is, actually. British families.
As you are charities, you could always try rattling a tin top make up the shortfall? Unless, of course, you think this is something you won’t get much public support for…