A HOMELESSNESS charity has warned that hundreds of people in Dorset will miss out on free advice because of the government spending cuts.

Shelter Dorset says plans to slash funding will mean many services having to close their doors to people in need of free legal advice.

It estimates it will no longer be able to help 68 per cent of clients at its Bournemouth-based service, with people unable to access advice until they are in court and on the verge of losing their home.

Shelter has written to Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns urging him to act. It points out that getting the right advice early on can save £10 for every £1 invested by keeping families in their homes, in work and in education.

Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb predicted: “The government’s proposed cuts to legal aid will have a devastating impact.

“When there are problems with benefits, when debts mount up, when they are exploited by landlords, there will be nowhere to turn.

“Services like those Shelter offers in Dorset must be protected or it will be the poorest and most vulnerable who suffer.”

Shelter is part of the Justice for All campaign, a coalition of almost 1,000 agencies calling on the government to urgently rethink its plans to cut the legal aid budget.