Closing courts and centralising staff threatens justice - Howarth

March 19, 2010 2:24 PM

David HowarthCambridge MP David Howarth fears that redeploying magistrates' court staff from the city to Peterborough and closing 20 courts across the country could erode local justice.

He has spoken out following the news that 12 staff at Cambridge magistrates court will be found new roles as part of a countywide move to centralise administration in Peterborough.

And yesterday (Thursday) Lord Chancellor Jack Straw announced that 20 magistrates courts, including Mildenhall, would be closed to provide "real value for money for the taxpayer".

Mr Howarth said: "The government has wasted millions of pounds from the justice budget and now it is making scathing cuts to try to balance its books.

"The knock-on effect of this financial black hole is to try to save money locally by closing courts and centralising staff. This puts the whole future of local justice at risk.

"The government's answer to poor financial management is to centralise services. We have seen it done in the health service and now it is being rolled out in the justice system.

"I am seriously concerned that this could mean local people missing out on local justice in the future."

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