Committee attacks bill on legal advice for asylum seekers

A House of Commons select committee has condemned government plans to set time limits on legal advice to asylum seekers, after more than 40 voluntary organisations lobbied against the proposals.

The plan was slammed as "hurried and not thought through" by the Constitutional Affairs Committee in a report published last week.

The voluntary organisations, including Liberty, Asylum Aid and the Refugee Council, came together to oppose the five-hour cap on publicly funded legal advice to asylum seekers and refugees.

Constitutional committee chairman Alan Beith MP said: "We agree with the Government that public money must be spent properly and that quality must be guaranteed. The proposed scheme would not have achieved this."

Refugee Council chief executive Maeve Sherlock welcomed the report: "Cutting Legal Aid for asylum cases will only drive costs up and the quality of decision-making down."

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