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The future of the advice sector in South East London

Home / News / Lewisham news / The future of the advice sector in South East London

16 April 2012
East London I see tens of people at my fortnightly surgeries who come to me for advice on issues such as housing, benefits, debt and immigration. Most of the time I can help them, but sometimes I have to point them to somewhere who can provide specialist advice.

The advice sector faces huge changes in the months and years ahead, not least as a result of the Government’s proposals on legal aid. I am concerned that many of the people of the people at my surgeries will increasingly struggle to get the advice they need.

With this in mind, I recently organised a roundtable discussion on the future of the advice sector. At the meeting I brought together a range of organisations and invididuals from across Lewisham, Greenwich, Southwark, Bromley and Bexley (local advice providers, legal aid solicitors, representatives from local authorities).

My fears about the provision of advice in light of the cuts were unfortunately confirmed, but the discussion was useful in learning about the concentration of social problems in our region, and the variation between boroughs in terms of funding and referral systems.

It is clear that there are some areas which are particularly suffering (family law was repeatedly highlighted) and I hope to organise further discussions focussed on these problem areas in order to devise a local strategy on how we can respond to the challenges ahead.

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