Cuts protestors block off Northampton street

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A small group of campaigners blocked a Northampton side-street on Saturday in protest against Government cuts.

About 25 members of UK Uncut blocked the entrance to Church Lane, opposite Northampton’s magistrates’ court, in protest to the Government’s proposed changes to legal aid.

The protest lasted about an hour and caused problems for about a dozen cars.

Similar protests were also held elsewhere in the country and the organiser of the Northampton event, Phil Leach, said he was pleased with how it had gone.

He said: “I think there was a great turnout and we made our point.

“We didn’t want to cause major disruption, the people of Northampton said they didn’t want that and we didn’t wan to cause an inconvenience, we just wanted to make our point about the Government’s attack on the legal aid system.

“I’ve used the legal aid system myself in the past and I don’t want to see people in the future suffering miscarriages of justice because they don’t have proper representation in court.”

In response to the UK Uncut demonstrations, a Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “We have one of the best legal professions in the world, but cannot close our eyes to the fact that - at around £2 billion - legal aid is costing too much.

“The Government’s legal aid reforms will create a sustainable legal aid system that will still be one of the most generous in the world. We want to ensure the limited public funds available are targeted at those cases and people who need it most.

“At a time when major financial challenges are being felt by businesses and households across the country, the legal sector cannot be immune from the Government’s commitment to getting better value for every penny of taxpayers’ money we spend.”

As well as blocking off Church Lane, the Northampton protestors also marched along Abington Street and past the town’s county and magistrates’ courts.