A coalition of Brighton charities has described proposed changes to the rules about legal aid as a false economy.
The charities are asking the government to rethink the changes which they say will affect 4,000 people in Brighton and Hove.
Under government proposals, people on low incomes will no longer receive free help with legal problems until they reach crisis point.
Charities like Mind, Brighton Housing Trust, Age Concern and Citizens Advice Bureau say this is short-sighted.
Complicated legal problems escalate without early intervention, incurring court fees and tribunal costs plus health and social consequences at great expense to the public purse.
The Justice for All campaign, which is led locally by Brighton and Hove Advice, has released an online video and petition.
The short film features three people form Brighton and Hove who overcame difficult and distressing problems through free legal aid which the government plans to eliminate.
A petition, which will be sent to local MPs and councillors, asks politicians to protect early stage advice for those in greatest need.
Visit justiceforall-brightonandhove.co.uk to learn more.
Andy Winter of Brighton Housing Trust said: “We believe cutting early stage legal advice will prove to be a false economy.
“Without this safeguard problems often spiral.
“Despite good intentions the proposed cuts will do nothing to fight compensation culture.
“Instead they will simply remove essential help for ordinary people facing dreadful problems.
“Fair and equal access to legal advice and representation is a hallmark of a civilised society.
“People can voice their concerns by writing to their MP and signing the Justice for All petition.”
The Brighton and Hove Justice for All campaign is part of a national movement which is supported locally by
- Age Concern
- BHT (Brighton Housing Trust)
- Citizens Advice Bureau
- Community & Voluntary Sector Forum
- Fitzhugh Gates Solicitors
- MACS (Money Advice and Community Support)
- Rise Women’s Refuge
- The Bridge Community Education Centre
- Whitehawk Inn
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