We attended the all party parliamentary inquiry on Legal Aid today. The theme was, what impact will Legal Aid cuts have on MP's dealing with a constituent in a surgery?
Up to 60% of the basic maths in the impact assessment of cuts may be flawed. This is not promising.
CAB research on welfare benefits advice shows £1 spent in LA saves £8.80. Yet £22 million in cuts will deprive 13,000 people of a service, and stop test cases. That's one way of saving money, I suppose.
Cuts in immigration are fair because applications are "simple" - yet the House of Lords describes the legal process applied by the Home Office as "applying policy to dogma that Kafka would have recognised." As another Judge put it “I would ask rhetorically, is this any way to run a whelk stall?”
75,000 people will loses debt advice at a time when the Money Advice Trust thinks that the need for services caused by the recession has not even peaked.
There are only two possible ways to describe the Government's proposals; wrong headed or wicked.
Wrong headed, because any MP who stopped to think about the impact of these cuts would realise that they were hurried and foolish. Wicked because any MP who takes stock and votes for them anyway is doing something wrong.
Plain dumb, because when we close down all the voters are going to come to you, and set up camp in your surgeries.