Dear Editor, I write in response to your article ‘Law Society chief warns of legal aid deserts’ published 26 November 2008.
Legal aid helps around two million people a year, with more money being spent per head on legal aid in England and Wales than in any other country.
The Legal Services Commission is responsible for ensuring that the funding available for legal aid services across the country makes the best use of taxpayers’ money. Indeed, in the last two years a third more people have been helped to resolve their civil legal problems.
The reforms currently being made to the legal aid system aim to deliver quality, access and value for money, ensuring future services are available for the people who need them the most.
Our reforms are about ensuring the long-term sustainability and future of the £2 billion legal aid scheme. Many who oppose change will say that the reforms threaten this, but the greatest threat to the system is to do nothing at all.
We recognise and must prioritise diverse advice needs to make best use of our funding, including balancing the needs of inner city areas with those experienced in more rural, and sometimes more affluent areas.
Currently, over 95 per cent of the population live within forty-five minutes on public transport of a family and social welfare legal aid provider, and access to services is increasing. Referring to the specific example of Rutland that was used in your article, outreach provision for family legal aid is actually available in Oakham.
People can also call our Community Legal Advice telephone helpline on 0845 345 4 345, which provides free, quality assured legal advice in debt, welfare benefits and tax credits, housing, employment and education between 9.00 am and 6.30 pm Monday to Friday. The helpline can either give advice over the phone, or point callers in the right direction.
We are confident that as a result of our reform programme, legal aid provision in England and Wales will be stronger than the old system and it will be able to give us clear pointers as to where issues lie and what we can do about them in the future. Reform of the legal aid system aims to deliver quality, access, and value for money, ensuring the future sustainability of services for the people who need them the most.
Regional Director of the
Legal Services Commission in the Midlands
Why can’t my personal details be deleted from bank archive?
Dear Editor, A quick question on the subject of Data Protection and data storing, something which this country seems to be extremely enthusiastic about but pretty shoddy with in practice.
I endeavoured to open an e-saver account with a well-known private turned public bank recently. Having their website crash on me at my first attempt didn’t fill me with much confidence but after some email correspondence to check that the numbers would work, I then discovered the account was being closed to new customers.
So I decided to take my hard-earned cash elsewhere (the mattress ‘springs’ to mind). I asked the bank in question to delete my half-finished application with all my private details on it, only to be told that this was impossible and that the information would be archived.
Now these are my private details and I don’t want them archived by an organisation that has employees who frequently leave this precious information lying about in many dubious places.
Why can’t they delete me?? I’m sure the IT department would be happy to free up some of the memory space on their server and I would be a lot happier knowing that my vital details weren’t flying around cyberspace.
HH, Sutton Coldfield
Time to arrest those in charge
Dear Editor, Have the police arrested the wrong person again? With Brown in 10 Downing St, we need all of the leakers and the whistle-blowers we can recruit.
I find it very difficult to reconcile the notion that New Labour Ministers and their Senior Civil Servants are able to claim that the ‘leaked’ serious disclosure of thousands of illegal immigrants who are being employed in ‘sensitive’ Government departments, such as, the Home Office and ‘Security’ positions, can possible undermine the ‘efficiency’ of the Government and these departments.
Isn’t the incompetence of employing illegal immigrants by this inept Labour Party the problem and the danger?
Surely the fact that illegal immigrants are working in Government departments must be a danger of undermining the country and its security.
I can see this from where I am typing this letter. The Government is obviously anxious to bury bad news! One can only worry as to how much more Brown has buried in this deep black hole: Yes, the same hole he keeps digging with help now from Alastair Darling. How much more is there for the ‘Damian Green’ to uncover?
If anybody is to be arrested shouldn’t it be those guilty of broken promises and deceit and a fraudulent manifesto, an arrest that is long overdue!
Salford Priors, Nr Evesham
Disappointed reader unhappy at change
Dear Editor, As a reader of your paper for some 60 years, I am writing to express my disappointment with its quality subsequent to the change from a broadsheet.
You proudly proclaim you’ve transformed the paper, which you most certainly have, but, most regrettably in my opinion, not for the better.
The quality of paper is inferior; hardly a day passes without the staples tearing at one’s fingers and mistakes, particular with headlines, are much more frequent. There is substantially less general local news, which was one of the “old Post’s” best features; a seriously truncated letters section and no Births, Marriages or Deaths.
From memory, within the new DNA essential deals section, the details of disqualified directors has not changed since the paper became a tabloid and finally, the lack of a Saturday edition is most frustrating.
I feel it is significant that no letters have yet appeared either in support of or against the new style and I, therefore, hope this letter will be published as it will be most interesting to find out if others are as disappointed as I am or whether I am in the minority and will either have to learn to live with the new format or reluctantly change my choice of newspaper.