Campaign to save our local courts

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A CAMPAIGN is being launched against the closure of three courts in Tameside and Oldham.

Ashton-under-Lyne MP Angela Rayner is being joined by Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish and Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde to defend the courts from the cuts.

Under the government's plans, Tameside County Court would be shut down with the public forced to travel into Manchester for justice.

Both Oldham magistrates court and the town's county court would be shut down, with the public forced to travel to Tameside, Manchester or Salford to have their cases heard.

The three Labour MP's have already pledged support to Tameside and Oldham Council who are fighting the plans.

Angela Rayner, MP, whose constituency includes Ashton, Droylsden and Failsworth, said: "If these closures go ahead, thousands of local people will be denied proper access to justice.

"It will mean longer journeys for the public, including victims of crime, witnesses and police; increased costs for magistrates and staff; job losses and the loss of vital business rates income to the councils.

"British justice is under threat - first we had massive cuts to legal aid, now courts are being closed down.

“Those that remain will be overstretched with people forced to queue for justice.

"These local courts are a vital part of the life of our communities. These closures will leave our already hard-pressed criminal justice system creaking at the knees and bring the concept of British justice into disrepute."

Tameside council leader Kieran Quinn said: “Access to justice in important. Local courts are vital. The Ministry of Justice didn’t consult with anyone in our region.

“We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our colleagues. This is the wrong decision.”

An online petition against the closure plans has been started at http://www.angelarayner.com/petition_against_court_closures


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