Unite delegate Ruth Hayes (pictured with raised hand) spoke out about the dreadful effects of austerity.
Speaking from first hand experience, she said, “I worked in a Law Centre for 18 years, I saw first-hand how austerity is hitting our communities. The mum and her daughter who came to us in half term with no money, no food and no electricity; the man affected by the Windrush scandal who lost his job, his pay and access to health care; the woman who was terminally ill but found fit for work. Without a lawyer on their side, these people would have been denied justice.
“Tory cuts mean that there are now huge gaps in access to advice services – the budget for legal aid has dropped by more than £1bn in five years. The number of people getting early legal help has dropped by over 400,000 a year. We need solutions which will rebuild capacity in our communities.”
“But,” she insisted, “we cannot simply turn back the clock – law students are no longer being taught social welfare law and many people have lost hope that they have any rights at all.”
She added, “I would like to thank Richard Burgon and his team these proposals offer real hope to rebuild our justice system. A system that works for the many, not just the privileged few.”