Briefing: Legal Aid Bill - Benefits and Homelessness amendments

By: Anne Baxendale  Published: March 2012


This amendment would ensure that, where the loss of the home is threatened due to nonpayment of the rent or mortgage, advice and casework can be provided to address an underlying benefits problem causing or contributing to the arrears.

Summary

Under government proposals, all benefits work is to be removed from the scope of legal aid (except for cases that go to judicial review). Shelter and other advice organisations do not accept the argument that because benefits work concerns financial entitlement it should be a lower priority for funding, nor the belief that benefits work is practical rather than legal. As advice providers, we know that benefits matters are routinely both complex and legal in nature, and that addressing underlying benefits problems can be vital in preventing people from losing their home.

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