Socialist Worker

Surprise strikes by Scottish lawyers against SNP's aid cut

Issue No. 2331

Lawyers and solicitors in Scotland are taking unprecedented industrial action against cuts to legal aid. Lawyers in Glasgow struck on Tuesday of this week. More struck at Edinburgh’s sheriff court last month.

One solicitor told Socialist Worker, “Alex Salmond says he isn’t implementing Tory cuts because he wants to paint himself in a social democratic light. But he is implementing cuts by stealth, such as the cuts to legal aid.”

The planned changes mean that anyone with a disposable income of over £68 a week would have to contribute to their legal fees. And the way that disposable income is calculated would change—so that benefits like Disability Living Allowance would be counted.

The solicitor said, “Some lawyers are focusing on opposing the idea that they should collect fees from people. But people have been unanimous in backing the action in meetings I’ve been in.

“This is an attack on the working class. It will mean people can’t afford to defend themselves. And in a background of more cuts, strikes and unrest there will be more arrests. The wider trade union movement should pick up on that.”

Workers aren’t announcing any dates for strikes in order to cause maximum disruption to courts. But lawyers and solicitors across Scotland have met and agreed a programme of action.

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Tue 27 Nov 2012, 18:57 GMT
Issue No. 2331
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