Jessica Morden Jessica Morden - Labour MP for Newport East, Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons and PPS to Keir Starmer
I’m supporting the Law Society’s campaign calling for an end to legal aid deserts.
More than half the local authorities in England and Wales have no publicly funded legal advice for housing, and the Law Society have published a new heat map which shows that provision of legal aid advice for housing is disappearing in large areas of England and Wales.
The map shows that in Newport there are just 2 housing legal aid providers to serve a population of 151,485. In Monmouthshire, there are none.
The Government must urgently act to end housing legal aid deserts and ensure that people are able to access the legal advice and representation they are entitled to.
Law Society president, Christina Blacklaws, said: “More than 21 million people live in a local authority without a single housing legal aid service, leaving pensioners, families with young children, people with disabilities or on low incomes struggling to access the legal advice they are entitled to when they are at their most vulnerable. Anyone trying to resolve a serious housing problem is likely to need face-to-face professional advice urgently – if the nearest legal aid solicitor is in the next county they might as well be on Mars. The government must ensure everyone who has a right to state-funded legal advice can actually get it when they so desperately need it. Legal rights are meaningless if people can’t enforce them.”
The heat map, which is based on February 2019 data from the Legal Aid Agency directory of providers can be found here: https://the-law-society.carto.com/builder/5855c84d-a811-4aee-b45f-a6938ae44dcd/embed
You can find out more information about the Law Society’s campaign on their website here: https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/policy-campaigns/campaigns/access-to-justice/end-legal-aid-deserts