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The number of claimants getting legal aid to help with welfare benefits has plunged from 88,380 in 2012-13 to just 149 in 2013-14 due to coalition cuts. In addition, not one single application for exceptional case funding has been granted. The Lib Dems have expressed concern about the effect of their own legal aid cuts on children, but not about the effects on sick and disabled claimants.

Legal aid has been abolished for almost all welfare benefits issues, including appeals to first-tier tribunals, but is still available for appeals to the upper tribunal.

In addition, in theory, exceptional case funding is available where a claimants human rights or European Union rights would be breached if they did not get funding to bring their case. However, although 11 applications were made for exceptional case funding in 2013-14, every single one was refused.

The Lib Dem family justice minister has now called for a review of legal aid cuts that affect children, according to the Guardian, but no minister has shown similar concern about the effect of legal aid cuts on sick and disabled claimants.

Legal aid for other areas of law likely to affect sick and disabled claimants has also been almost wiped out in the same period. This includes debt, which has fallen from 81,993 funded cases to 2,584 and employment, which has fallen from 16,157 to 32.

You can download the latest statistics from this link.

Comments  

#14 Paul Richards 2014-10-01 00:07
Hi tintack,
Yes indeed and I agree with all that you are saying - tonight, it seems there is a fair possibility that another 4 Tory MP's at least may well be defecting to UKIP by Christmas 2014 - I personally think that it may well be more than this.
UKIP at the end of the day could be more Tory then the Tories and if this does happen then we could end up with a Labour majority!
#13 tintack 2014-09-29 18:28
Well, it didn't take long for the anti-welfare announcements to start, did it?

Osborne has apparently said that if the Tories win in May, his plans will wipe out the debt by the time of the following election. If you think that sounds very familiar, you're right. In the 2010 campaign, Osborne said that if the Tories were to win that election, the deficit would be wiped out by the time of the 2015 election. That went well.
#12 tintack 2014-09-29 18:24
Quoting Paul Richards:
But they can't fool all of the people all of the time.


I suppose they only need to fool some of the people to win an election, but of course that doesn't necessarily mean they'll manage to fool enough people to win.

I really don't think the public is as naturally right-wing as one might think. It's worth remembering that even with a print media heaviiy dominated by Tory rags willing to parrot their propaganda uncritically, no matter how obnoxious, they still haven't managed to win an election with an overall majority since 1992. If we had a press with a more balanced representation of the political spectrum the Tories wouldn't stand a chance.

Quote:
I agree with your UKIP comments, - working people may think that it will change things for the better if they vote for them - but, in the long run, because of their even further right-wing policies, I think not!
Stuart Wheeler, one of UKIP's biggest donors (and an ex-Tory, unsurprisingly) was interviewed at the UKIP conference. The interviewer suggested that it would be virtually impossible for UKIP to form a coalition with anyone except the Tories. Wheeler replied: "Well yes, most of our policies are very similar to the Conservatives". There you have it, straight from the horse's mouth. A party consisting largely of Tories, with Tory policies, funded by Tory money.

Quote:
Labour/Lim Dem Coalition I think too is a possibility - whether they would be less severe than this Coalition - I really don't know, but I fear that it may be similar!
It remains to be seen if there will be any Lib Dem MPs to take part in a coalition! But I don't think such a coalition would be as bad as a Tory/UKIP alliance, if only because Labour and the Lib Dems have quite a few backbenchers who would make it very hard for their leaderships to get away with doing the sort of stuff that a Tory/UKIP coalition would do.
#11 Paul Richards 2014-09-28 21:36
Hi tintack,
Very interesting comments and I believe that you have hit the nail on the head with all of your various ideas and thoughts.
After what has been said and heard on the News today - it still looks like the Tories are on the run, but they are trying desperately to make themselves look better with the expected spin and verbal attempts to put a good front on it all! But they can't fool all of the people all of the time. I agree with your UKIP comments, - working people may think that it will change things for the better if they vote for them - but, in the long run, because of their even further right-wing policies, I think not! Labour/Lim Dem Coalition I think too is a possibility - whether they would be less severe than this Coalition - I really don't know, but I fear that it may be similar!
We shall just have to wait and see what happens next!!
+1 #10 tintack 2014-09-28 00:54
Quoting Paul Richards:
Hi all,
Sky News at 10PM this evening - Tories are in definite trouble and they know it!! 1 Tory MP to UKIP & 1 going because of sex pic. scandal!
Cameron has just announced that no family on benefits can claim more than £23000 in any one year - they are VERY scared now that they are going to lose the next General Election and are doing anything they can to get 'public opinion' on board and also get UKIP off of their heels!!


The sex scandal won't make much difference, but the defection will increase the panic and desperation in the Tory party. One defection could perhaps be dismissed as a freak one-off, but a second can only increase the chances of others following. The anti-welfare policy announcements are likely to come thick and fast, along with more "tough" rhetoric on immigration. The more desperate they get, the more they'll do what bullies always do - lash out at those for whom it's hardest to fight back. It's going to get very, very ugly, especially with a nasty piece of work like Crosby running their election campaign.
+1 #9 tintack 2014-09-28 00:48
Quoting Paul Richards:
And, to accompany my last comments, today, mark reckless has jumped ship from the Tories to go to UKIP - one Tory less, but there are probably more to go yet, from the Tories & possibly Labour also - our political system is in a totally uncertain chaos.
My real and growing fear, is because of our first pass the post system, at the next G.E., we could end up with another hung Parliament - with possibly another horrible Coalition to further kick down the poor, the sick, the disabled and the unemployed of Britain.
IF this happens, it will become even more extreme and unfair with the very rich at the top raking it in and the extreme poor at the bottom - sidling slowly along in a mountain of 'pay-day debt' and in the private workhouse, - working for a private company for £10 a week pocket money - I hope that this is not the case, but I am very worried that it could turn into this - as usual look to the American examples!!


A hung parliament is highly likely. A Labour/Lib Dem coalition might not be so bad if they actually stick to their promise and reform the WCA and other objectionable aspects of the benefits system (I know, that's a big "if").

The ultimate nightmare is the Tories being the largest party and forming a coalition with UKIP. Have you seen any of the UKIP conference? They are hard-right Thatcherites to the core, especially the leadership and politicians. I wonder how many of their working class voters have realised this? After all, UKIP support the very policies from which many working class areas have never recovered.

As for going down the US road, the evidence shows that more equal countries are generally happier and safer places to live, while our politicians choose to ape the country that is the polar opposite of that. Who'd have thought it?
+1 #8 tintack 2014-09-28 00:40
Quoting Paul Richards:
As far as they are concerned 'any' benefit claimants are 'benefit scroungers' living off the generous 'benefit system'. When they have to work their bo*****s off, get up at 'silly-o-clock' and commute for 5 or 6 days a week, they mistakenedly have the view, (first commented upon by the chancellor George Osborne, - a millionaire and a friend of the 'bankers'!) that 'all' benefit claimants
stay in their beds, behind closed curtains until midday.
Because of the 'huge amounts of benefits that they have' they do not have to work.


It's textbook divide and rule stuff. Divert attention from those at the top who caused the economic meltdown in the first place (and who are still doing very nicely for themselves) by turning the plebs against each other. Public sector workers vs private sector workers, those in work vs the unemployed, "hard working taxpayers" against anyone on benefits, even the sick. The most tragic part is that people actually fall for it.

As for Osborne, if he were forced to live on the supposedly "generous" benefits system, and deprived of the old school tie network, he wouldn't last five minutes. Every so often there's a programme on TV in which politicians try managing on benefits for a set amount of time. They invariably fail.
+1 #7 Paul Richards 2014-09-27 23:27
And then, to cap it all - Farage is 1% ahead of Cameron in the Polls and Cameron has also announced a new policy of no JSA or Housing benefit for 18-21 year olds - what are these youngsters supposed to do if they have no family or friends to support them in any way. They will be cut off, with no money whatsoever - they will have to live in a tent in some town or City Centre or some village miles and miles from anywhere - the other alternative would be for them to be put into the services, to be trained up - to fight for their country and then to be spat out into civvy life to survive, if they are lucky and then to get a job afterwards!
If they were to get in at the next Election, they are also promising (from the saving of benefit payments!) to provide 3 million apprenticeships for young people - Ugh!!??
This Tory PM - Cameron has absolutely NO idea of how anyone else, apart from the rich people in this Country actually lives - otherwise, he would have not suggested this totally crazy idea.
#6 Paul Richards 2014-09-27 22:15
Hi all,
Sky News at 10PM this evening - Tories are in definite trouble and they know it!! 1 Tory MP to UKIP & 1 going because of sex pic. scandal!
Cameron has just announced that no family on benefits can claim more than £23000 in any one year - they are VERY scared now that they are going to lose the next General Election and are doing anything they can to get 'public opinion' on board and also get UKIP off of their heels!!
+1 #5 Paul Richards 2014-09-27 21:47
And, to accompany my last comments, today, mark reckless has jumped ship from the Tories to go to UKIP - one Tory less, but there are probably more to go yet, from the Tories & possibly Labour also - our political system is in a totally uncertain chaos.
My real and growing fear, is because of our first pass the post system, at the next G.E., we could end up with another hung Parliament - with possibly another horrible Coalition to further kick down the poor, the sick, the disabled and the unemployed of Britain.
IF this happens, it will become even more extreme and unfair with the very rich at the top raking it in and the extreme poor at the bottom - sidling slowly along in a mountain of 'pay-day debt' and in the private workhouse, - working for a private company for £10 a week pocket money - I hope that this is not the case, but I am very worried that it could turn into this - as usual look to the American examples!!
+1 #4 Paul Richards 2014-09-27 21:35
Hi tintack - again, you are right - this is a situation that is self-perpetuati ng - a spiral downwards with the upper & middle classes at the top looking down upon the lower classes, who in THEIR estimation are probably the 'old-style' working classes who are now low or fairly low paid full time workers, part-time and zero hour workers and 'benefit claimants' are' bottom'.
As far as they are concerned 'any' benefit claimants are 'benefit scroungers' living off the generous 'benefit system'. When they have to work their bo*****s off, get up at 'silly-o-clock' and commute for 5 or 6 days a week, they mistakenedly have the view, (first commented upon by the chancellor George Osborne, - a millionaire and a friend of the 'bankers'!) that 'all' benefit claimants
stay in their beds, behind closed curtains until midday.
Because of the 'huge amounts of benefits that they have' they do not have to work. How wrong they are!
The real sick and disabled cannot do what 'fit' people can do, - they can't attend J/C Plus for 5 days a week or 35 hours per week, and as for the terminally ill - this, for those poor people is even worse.
But as we have mentioned previously, the Media is largely responsible for this absurd mis-representat ion of claimant's lives -
the biased Tory press and also TV News have a lot to answer for. They are still not telling the real truth of all this - how people are killing themselves as they have been sanctioned and have no money, no hope and nowhere to turn for help - I would say they are deliberately covering it all up, maybe of their wish not to upset the Tory-Coalition Government.
They, like the Government, think that 'work' is the answer to all of it, - to lift people out of poverty - if the min. wage was adhered to and even better, the 'living wage' introduced it may well work.
But, unless this changes, for the fit unemployed, it will not.
+1 #3 tintack 2014-09-27 16:05
I'm afraid a great many of our politicians are so frightened of the right-wing press that they're too scared to stand up for claimants, whether it's the sick and disabled or the unemployed. That's why so few have protested about the vicious sanctions regime, which puts people, most of whom have done little or nothing wrong, into almost instant destitution. Even prisoners know they'll have enough to eat and a roof over their heads, but the DWP withdraws that security from thousands of innocent people every week. It's a sorry state of affairs when claimants are treated worse than convicted criminals.

The reason most politicians don't speak up for claimants is that polls show that anti-welfare policies are popular. Of course, that rather ignores the fact that the propaganda is utter drivel, but it's been peddled virtually unchallenged for so long that much of the public has now been taken in by it. If our politicians had had the guts to challenge it vigorously to begin with, perhaps the public would see through it. Unfortunately, challenging it requires a backbone.
+1 #2 angela 2014-09-27 11:34
This is what I have already said people say appeal when you get turned down for your benefits but where do you go for help there is go where or no one left to help out on the street you have to try and do it yourself and if you don't know the tricks of the trade you have no hope in hell
+1 #1 Paul Richards 2014-09-26 20:16
I am afraid that this is only to be expected from this particular yellowbellied Party. (Even their Party colours are yellow!)
They, like all the Parties are seemingly out after their own ends - as long as they stay in power and have their salaries paid and their expenses/perks met they do not seem to care.
Meanwhile, today our RAF are going to be ordered into an asometric 'war' that could potentially drag on for a very long time.
Again, as usual money is no object for this!

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