Thursday, December 04, 2008

Lobby Legal Commission Service on Cuts to Advice Services.

On Monday 8 December 12-2pm there is a lobby outside the Legal Commission Service (LCS) headquarters in Victoria, London. This has been called by my Voluntary sector trade unions colleagues in UNITE.

The LCS is accused of cutting the funding arrangements for independent legal advice services such as local Law centres and national organisations such as Shelter.

There was a recent very bitter and damaging strike in Shelter over cuts made due to changes in LCS funding. I have also met Law Centre volunteers who have been spitting blood at the new policies. An old friend of mine who works for the LCS loyally defended the cuts and changes of providers as just getting rid of old fashioned and inefficient providers to ensure “value for money” for taxpayers.

But what this means in practice is that legal advice services have had to cut the terms and conditions of staff who are not highly paid in order to stop “private” companies from winning contracts on price by cutting wages, extending hours and getting rid of decent pensions.

There must be a level playing field. We must ensure that those who protect the vulnerable are not themselves exploited

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