A £5.4 million government grant to organisations helping vulnerable people with legal issues has been welcomed by Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie.

The former solicitor said the money to help those seeking social welfare advice around housing, debt, discrimination and employment problems was much needed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Not-for-profit organisations and law centres across England and Wales can now continue to provide advice, increase capacity and deliver services remotely.

“This is very welcome news and it will make a real difference during the Covid-19 emergency to an important sector helping people who are often in real distress,” said Ms Baillie.

“As a solicitor, I know how important it is for everyone to have access to justice when they need it and during these difficult times, more people will inevitably need trusted legal advice. I thank the government for recognising this need and acting quickly to offer funding.

“I will now be pushing for law centres, like the one in Gloucester, to receive a share of this grant.”

The Law Centres Network chair Helen Rogers added: “We thank the government for this vital support, which will allow law centres to continue to defend people’s homes, lives and livelihoods.

“The pandemic’s uneven impact is a grim reminder of the deep inequality in our society that affects every aspect of life. This support recognises the key role of legal assistance in reducing inequality and bringing justice for all.”

The latest money is in addition to a recently signed grant agreement to provide more than £3.1m in funding to organisations that support unrepresented defendants in the courts, known as Litigants in Person.