Nia Griffith MP, Shadow Wales Minister, joined a group of legal aid campaigners from Ty Arian Solicitors, who work in Llanelli and Swansea, when they descended on Parliament with a giant coffin, to symbolise the death of legal aid. The campaigners dressed as undertakers presented a petition to Labour’s Lord Bach, who will be leading the opposition to the Government’s Legal Aid and Sentencing Bill in the Lords. About a dozen members of the House of Lords came out to meet them including Baroness Anita Gale, Labour’s Shadow Spokesperson for Wales in the Lords. The stunt marked the start of Committee Stage in the House of Lords, which had its first session on 20th December and is continuing in January.
“The Government’s legal aid reforms propose severely limiting advice on welfare benefits, employment, housing and debt – saving just 2.5 per cent of the legal aid budget – yet cutting this service would leave thousands without the help they need. Preventative and early advice is being cut in many areas, particularly debt, yet this can save £10 for every £1 invested. It is vital to influence crossbencher Lords to support Labour’s amendments to stop this bill leaving vulnerable people with no access to free, independent, quality advice.”