Large areas of the country will remain without vital legal advice to prevent evictions if the government fails to persuade law firms to participate in a new scheme.
That’s the view of the Law Society of England and Wales, referring to the gaps in provision in the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service, which gives urgent free legal aid advice for people facing repossession.
Society president Lubna Shuja says:
“The fact that the government has failed to attract any bids for housing legal aid provision in 12 areas of the UK – including large areas like Liverpool – shows just how unviable it has become for providers.
“For many, this type of contract is becoming increasingly difficult to make this work financially. As a result, some are instead choosing to leave the legal aid market altogether.
“We are really concerned that this could lead to less support being available for families at risk of losing their home at a time when we are in the middle of a cost of living crisis. More and more people are struggling with rising rents, spiralling debt and mortgage costs.
“We already know from our advice desert maps that 24.4m people do not have access to a housing legal aid provider. The government is currently undertaking a review of the civil legal aid market but with this not due to report until 2024, we are calling on the government to provide an immediate injection of funding into the system to prevent it from collapse.”
In addition to Liverpool the gaps in cover are in Bedford, Birkenhead, Crewe, Darlington, Dartford, Durham, High Wycombe, Hull, Teesside, Telford and Wigan.
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