Data from home insurer LV= reveals a sharp rise of 21% in calls to its legal helpline for advice. A quarter of all calls relate to employment issues such as redundancy - a rise of a third compared with 2008.
Further research conducted by LV= found that consumers are increasingly seeking legal advice in the recession, with up to one million people having to take legal advice on employment issues in the last 12 months*. Current unemployment numbers stand at 1.92 million people in the UK*.
Almost half of the people who have sought legal advice about an employment issue in the last year (47%) cited the recession as the cause of their problems*. Common problems included being asked to work reduced hours, requested to take a pay cut or being made redundant.
LV='s analysis of employment related calls made to its legal advice helpline in the first quarter of 2009 shows that employers were acting illegally in one in three cases. In addition to the helpline, the legal cover that LV= offers as part of its home insurance will pay solicitors fees of up to £50,000 in the event of a case being pursued, with any payouts won being unaffected.
Almost half of the people questioned in the LV= research (48%) said that the company they work for has made redundancies since the onset of the credit crunch. A quarter (26%) also said that hours have been cut and the same number said that pay rises had been cancelled*.
The research by LV= revealed that potentially over half of all UK adults (55%) have had to take some form of legal advice in the past, with the majority opting to speak to a private solicitor as the first port of call despite the high costs involved*. The average cost of such advice is £708 per case. This compares with a cost of just £18.90 a year for adding legal cover - including unlimited use of the helpline and up to £50,000 in legal fees - to a LV= home insurance policy.
John O'Roarke, managing director of LV= home insurance, said: "The statistics from our helpline show that an increasing number of people are looking for legal help because of employment problems caused directly by the recession. The issues are far ranging, covering redundancies, a reduction in hours and pay, or changes in employment contracts.
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Notes to editors
All statistics taken from internal data are based on calls made to the LV= legal helpline, unless otherwise specified. Wider research conducted by Opinium among 2,013 people from 1-5 May 2009.
* National Statistics taken from www.statistics.gov.uk
LV= offers home and car insurance as well as pet and travel insurance direct to consumers by telephone from its UK call centres in Bournemouth and Croydon and online from its website.
LV= is a registered trade mark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.
LV= employs over 3,800 people, serves around 3.4 million customers and members, and manages around £7 billion on their behalf. We are also the UK's largest friendly society (Association of Friendly Societies Key Statistics 2008, total net assets) and a leading mutual financial services provider. LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, AMI, AFS and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF
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