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Legal Aid: Reform

Volume 457: debated on Tuesday 6 March 2007

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) if she will make available copies of the representations she has received on her planned changes to the legal aid system; [124864]

(2) how many representations she has received (a) in support and (b) against her planned changes in legal aid from (i) voluntary groups and advice agencies, (ii) private sector law firms and (iii) others; and if she will make a statement.

I held national meetings last summer to hear practitioners' views on our proposals. We received a total of 2,372 written responses to the consultation “Legal Aid: a sustainable future”, and I have also received correspondence from MPs and their constituents on the matter. The majority of consultees expressed a range of views on different aspects of the reforms: 175 from Not-for-Profit providers; 1,495 from solicitor providers; 469 from barristers; and 470 from others as detailed in the “Legal Aid: a sustainable future—analysis of responses”. Individual responses can be provided on request.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether she carried out a race equality impact assessment of planned legal aid changes; and if she will make a statement. (124990)

Draft and final regulatory impact assessments, including race equality impact assessments, have been—and will continue to be—published alongside schemes for all legal aid reforms.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what effect on costs to the public purse she expects to arise from the planned legal aid changes in (a) London and (b) England; and if she will make a statement. (124993)

The savings from the reform package will amount to over £100 million per annum by 2009-10. Savings will be made in criminal legal aid while civil and family expenditure is expected to continue to grow. This applies to England and Wales. No separate assessment has been made for London.