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Legal Aid Fund (Grant In Aid)

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 11 May 1954

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40.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why the grant in aid of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Fund re quires £147,000 in 1954–55 as compared with £140,000 in 1953–54 and why pro vision is made in the Estimates that any balance of the sum issued which may remain unexpended at 31st March, 1955, will not be liable to surrender to the Exchequer.

The increase of £7,000 is due to the prospect of increased expenditure on solicitors' fees and outlays and, to a lesser extent, to an increase in administrative costs. As this is a grant in aid, it is exempt from the normal rule that balances of grants unspent at the end of the year must be surrendered to the Exchequer.

Can my right hon. Friend prophesy that if the expenditure does not increase next year he will be able to dispense with this additional Vote?

I cannot say whether it is likely to increase. That depends on how much use is made of the scheme.