In response to government proposals to cut legal aid, as set out in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill published today, Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“The proposals to cut legal aid leave us extremely concerned that asylum seekers will not be able to access the legal advice they need. While we welcome the new proposal that asylum seekers will be able to access legal help for accommodation matters, we are concerned that people seeking help for other aspects of asylum support will not be eligible, forcing many into poverty.
“Access to legal advice is vital for asylum seekers and refugees as they generally they have no choice but to rely on publicly funded legal services. We urge the government to widen these proposals to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society can get the legal support they so desperately need to be able to live in dignity and safety while they are in the UK.”