£700,000 cuts hit legal service
A centre that offers free welfare and legal advice to people is to lose more than £700,000 of its funding.
The Community Legal Advice Centre (CLAC), in Charles Street, Leicester, is paid for by Leicester City Council and the Government's Legal Services Commission (LSC).
However, the LSC, which runs the country's legal aid service, is cutting its contribution from April.
About 10,000 people a year use the CLAC to get advice on benefits, debt, housing and employment law.
NEW LEBANESE HOME BUFFET EVERY DAY @ CEDARS LEBANESE REST £ 6.99...View details
A LA CARTE MENU ALWAYS AVAILABLE :)
Terms: Entertainment SATURDAY NIGHT Live Belly Dancer
Contact: 0116 2169184
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
The funding cut will mean the centre will close on March 31, but the council hopes that its continuing £370,000-a-year contribution will allow it to reopen the following day, on a scaled-down basis, in another city centre location, yet to be decided.
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: "As more and more people face economic hardship and job insecurity, we are seeing a growing demand for information and advice on benefits, debt management and employment issues.
"Many councils are cutting their advice services as it's not something they are legally required to provide, so I'm very pleased that in Leicester we are going to continue to invest in this important activity.
"Such a big drop in funding will affect the service people get. People will not get the specialist advice they previously had, but general advice will still be available.
"The service will have a city centre base, will be independent and confidential, and will offer a range of services under one roof.
"Advice staff will also help to represent people in court and at tribunal hearings."
Sir Peter said the change would have implications for CLAC staff but it was not clear yet how many jobs could be lost.
Bids are being sought from companies to run the new service.
A spokeswoman for CLAC said it could not comment on matters being decided by the council and the LSC.
A LSC spokesman said: "The legal aid reforms will remove from scope a significant amount of the work now being carried out by CLACs.
"We wrote to all CLAC contract holders and local authorities in May, to give them as much notice as possible of the contract terminations."