FUNDING cuts to the Isle of Wight Law Centre will cost the council £1.5 million, the centre says.

The council has ended core funding for the centre, and it will close on June 30, 2019, losing 12 jobs.

The council said it was a three year grant, that was always due to end in June 2019.

The Law Centre has sent a letter to all members of the council, setting out it's case for why ending the grant of £70,000 will cost the council more than double.

The centre said if they cease to operate their work preventing homelessness, this will cost the council millions.

In 2017 the Law Centre dealt with over 60 eviction warrants and had a 98 per cent success rate.

Each warrant executed renders the individual or family concerned homeless and they become the responsibility of the Isle of Wight Council. Each such homelessness case costs the Council between £24,000 and £30,000.

There are no legal aid solicitors on the Island now.

Manager of the centre Matt Thatcher said: "We have issued this letter to the Isle of Wight Councillors to draw their attention to the work we do and the extent to which our current funding of £70,000 supports the needy on the Isle of Wight and actually saves the Isle of Wight Council a very large sum of money.

"The work of the Law Centre dealing with evictions is just part of what the organisation does. In addition we also deal with Mortgage repossessions, Rent Repossession, Homelessness reviews, insolvency, Bankruptcies, Welfare Benefits & Employment.

"The lack of a readily available resource to deal with this work will create hardship for those involved in such cases and in all cases will create extra work and expense for the Isle of Wight Council.

A petition has been started, urging the council to reconsider funding the Law Centre. 

Updated 10am

In response an Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said: "Legally, the Isle of Wight Council has an obligation it must comply with when buying goods and services.

“Part of this legal obligation is to ensure that contract opportunities are advertised.

“The existing agreements for information, advice and guidance, including those with the Law Centre, will expire and it is necessary to ensure these are recommissioned so that valuable services for the Island can continue to be delivered.

“The procurement process is open and transparent and the Law Centre can bid for the contract, either alone or in partnership with other voluntary organisations, should it wish to continue to deliver these services. 

“The current actions are not about stopping the support available but instead looking at better ways of delivering them and aligning them across the board."

Updated 3pm

The Isle of Wight Law Centre has called the council response 'meaningless'.

A spokesperson said: "All the Isle of Wight Law Centre has received is notice terminating our core funding in June 2019, and that’s it. 

"The IOW Council is now saying it intends to re-commission Advice, Information, and Guidance (AIG) services, but as the Law Centre doesn’t deliver AIG services, that proposed intention is meaningless.  We’re not aware that any appropriate tenders have been published by the Isle Of Wight Council?"