COURT CLOSURES: Taxpayers to bear brunt

Market and West Deeping ward elections EMN-150615-122448001
Market and West Deeping ward elections EMN-150615-122448001

In the name of austerity and efficiency, the Government is proposing to close the busy magistrates’ courts at Grantham and Skegness.

A similar consultation a few years ago earmarked Spalding Magistrates’ Court for closure, but it earned a reprieve as a result of public outcry.

Unfortunately, parts of that building failed health and safety inspections and, consequently, Spalding cases are now heard at Grantham, which is now itself under threat of closure.

This means anyone involved in a trial will have to travel to Lincoln or Boston to attend court hearings.

This journey is long and tedious by car and almost impossible to achieve by public transport in time for an early hearing.

Witnesses and victims will have to pay for their own transport to Lincoln. Police officers involved in these cases will have to travel the extra hours during their working week, reducing the amount of time they can spend on the beat.

Solicitors representing prosecution and defence will inevitably charge clients for the extra time involved and a proportion of those extra fees will be funded by the public purse via legal aid.

As with so many other Tory proposals, what is being presented as a cost-saving and efficiency measure will actually cause disruption and extra financial costs for taxpayers.

I urge your readers to respond to the online consultation before October 8 and tell the government that, for a justice system to work, it needs to be genuinely and freely accessible to all.