Workers from across the justice sector joined together to call time on justice cuts at a vigil for justice.
The Ministry of Justice has been the hardest hit department by spending cuts with its budget stripped from £9.3 billion in current prices in 2010/11 to £5.6bn by 2019/20, with £1.5bn owed to the Treasury.
More than 5,000 MoJ jobs have been cut with over 220 courts closed since 2010.
The event in London on Wednesday (18) evening was organised by the Justice Alliance and Speak Up For Justice, supported by many Community Law Centres, PCS, Napo, Unite the Union, the TUC, the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers and DPAC.
Speakers included PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka, who praised those that had joined the protest saying: “You are putting justice on the map. Any country that cannot offer access to justice to all and only to those that cannot afford it cannot be described as civilised.”
He added: “We must see the justice cuts not in isolation, but as part of a scorched earth policy across the public sector.”
He called for protesters to join the national demonstration organised by the TUC on 12 May.
Legal aid cuts, coupled with benefits sanctions, are having a devastating impact on vulnerable people.
Barrister Mary-Rachel McCabe introduced the crowd to Tony Rice, a real-life Daniel Blake. Tony had to resort to foodbanks after facing lengthy Universal Credit sanctions and hadn’t been eligible for legal aid until he faced eviction because of rent arrears.
His story and others are told in a series of short films launched on social media since the vigil.
Other speakers showing their support included shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon and Napo general secretary, Ian Lawrence.
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Share the short films on social media.
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