Mental health groups fight legal aid cuts
A GROUP of mental health patients is teaming up with a peer in the House of Lords to fight Government plans to cut legal aid.
Hanley-based charity North Staffordshire Users Group (NSUG) has joined Baroness Meacher to oppose the proposals to place restrictions on people's eligibility for the funding.
Its leaders fear the change will hit the chances of vulnerable people claiming their full benefits entitlement.
Now they are taking advantage of a national campaign – Pair up with a Peer – where groups have been linked with members of the Lords to help directly challenge the proposals.
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NSUG co-ordinator Lorien Barber said: "Mental health service users appear to be coming off worse in these changes as legal aid funds a lot of the advice and support on benefits, particularly help with appeals.
"My application to join the scheme was successful and we have been paired with Baroness Meacher as she has a strong interest in mental health.
"Over the past few months I have been regularly e-mailing her and so far she has been voting against the Government so perhaps it has been working."