MPs are voting on the government’s cuts to legal aid today. Over the last few months, the House of Lords has made some vital changes to the legal aid bill. These changes would protect children, domestic violence victims and disabled people from the worst of the legal aid cuts.
The government has made some concessions but all these commitments could be reversed in the House of Commons.
MPs now have a choice to either back the Lords to stop the worst of the cuts or they can vote to stick with the government’s original plans.
Mumsnet is supporting a campaign calling on MPs to vote against cuts that will penalise domestic violence victims.
Almost every day on the Mumsnet forums there are stories from women trapped in abusive relationships, or parents desperately challenging local authority decisions on provision for their children with special needs.
The legal aid budget helps women and families out of these situations, which is why it needs protecting – because those who use legal aid are some of the most vulnerable in our society. Currently 250,000 cases of divorce and family breakdown receive legal aid. If the bill is passed it is estimated this will be reduced to 40,000.
Only women who can prove a ‘high risk of violence’ would get help under new proposals. A survey by Rights of Women has indicated that almost half of all victims of domestic abuse would not meet these criteria.
Read the full article on the Guardian website