Humberside

Spending review: Advice centres' spending cut fears

Darren Hopper at the Beverley Legal Advice Network
Image caption The network offers advice and assistance with debt, employment and benefit problems

A network which offers help with legal, debt and benefit problems to people in East Yorkshire is bracing itself for the government's spending review.

The East Riding Community Legal Advice Network, which was set up earlier this year, has offices in Beverley, Goole and Bridlington.

It is funded by central government and East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

Advisor Anne-Marie Benson said if the network was to close there would be a "massive advice desert" in the area.

The network offers legal advice and assistance to local people facing problems with community care, debt, employment, housing and welfare benefits.

Mrs Benson, who works at the Beverley office, said: "It would be a tragic loss, especially in the East Riding, because there isn't anywhere else nearby that can provide this, you can't just drive 10 miles down the road and get advice somewhere else.

"It would be a massive advice desert for everybody if this service was to fall."

Darren Hopper, who went to the centre for help with rent problems, said: "You wouldn't be able to go nowhere if we didn't have a place like this.

"People on lower incomes who can't afford the solicitor's fees can come here."

The centre's advisors said debt was the biggest problem among clients.

Celia Evans, a debt supervisor, said: "Anybody can come in and a lot of people nowadays have got debt, especially since the recession.

"I think [the centre] is extremely important because not only can a client come in with a debt issue but through the debt interview you identify other areas of need, a housing issue or a benefit issue, and then we are all here under the same roof."

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