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Poverty, Welfare Reforms and Advice Services London for All - London Voluntary Sector Forum Spring conference 2014 Wesley Harcourt.

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Presentation on theme: "Poverty, Welfare Reforms and Advice Services London for All - London Voluntary Sector Forum Spring conference 2014 Wesley Harcourt."— Presentation transcript:

1 Poverty, Welfare Reforms and Advice Services London for All - London Voluntary Sector Forum Spring conference 2014 Wesley Harcourt

2 Cuts to Advice Services Legal Aid cuts – LASPO – MOJ says £89m lost from Social Welfare law advice or 238,820 cases Cuts to immigration services – No longer in scope for legal aid – LAs refusing to fund immigration advice Local authority Cuts – Cabinet office predicts that £220m for the advice sector in 2010/11 will fall to £160m in 2015/16 EHRC – no longer funding advice services London Councils Grants Scheme – Cut from £27m reduced to £9.4m in current round RBK&C – sector has lost 30% of its funding

3 Unprecedented demand for advice Civil Legal Advice - 300% increase in debt referrals Toynbee Hall running at 20% above target 78% AdviceUK members report 10%+ increase Shelter – 40% increase in calls last year (80% over last three years) Citizens Advice reports 18% increase in demand

4 Drivers of increased demand Welfare reforms: – UC, PIP, ESA, Bedroom Tax, Council Tax Benefit, Housing Benefit cap, Welfare Benefits cap System failure – Nottingham 30% of demand is due to system failure 35% of Welfare Benefit Appeals are successful ESA appeals - about 50% success rate Fitness for work assessments – 39% success

5 Drivers for increased demand Sutton CAB saw demand for welfare benefits advice treble in last three years Austerity measures Cuts in grants to local authorities – Average cuts from Government 2.9% in 2014 Debt issues – MAS says 9m in serious debt – People on low pay highest for 30 years

6 The Low Commission Set up in 2012 – 6 key recommendations: Public legal Education Reduce preventable demand – polluter pays Courts and Tribunals National Strategy for Advice & Legal Support Local Advice and Legal Support plans National Advice and legal Support Fund

7 Campaigns for advice Justice 4 all campaign – Coalition of legal and advice agencies, community groups, not-for-profit organisations, trade unions, politicians and members of the public – Petitions, day of action, demonstrations London Councils grants scheme – consultation 2009 and 2011 – Demonstration – Letters to grants committee/leaders committee – On line petition – Legal challenge

8 Influencing Funders LVSC developing a co-ordinated funding strategy for London AdviceUK meeting with Director of London Funders Sector meetings with Cabinet Office BAN invited Big Lottery to attend its last network meeting Regular contact with funders

9 Contacting MPs and Councillors MP’s details are on the Parliament website: or Respond to Government consultations Lobbying MPs Petitions to the House of Commons Local Councillors’ details on council website Attend their advice surgeries Elections coming up…


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