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Justice System (Savings)

Volume 572: debated on Tuesday 17 December 2013

9. What assessment he has made of the potential for further savings to the public purse from the justice system. (901656)

Across the spending review period starting in 2010 and running up to March 2015 the Ministry of Justice will have delivered annual savings of well over £2.5 billion. Building on successful delivery of these savings, the Ministry is developing reform plans to transform the way we deal with offenders and make courts, prisons and probation more efficient.

A unique feature of the legal aid system in the UK is that we pay a subset of practitioners several multiples of what we pay our Prime Minister. Can the Secretary of State give us some assurance that his changes and amendments to the legal aid system will bear down on those very high salaries, while protecting the majority of barristers who do such good work?

We have tried very hard in difficult decisions to make sure that we focus as much as possible of the impact of necessary changes to legal aid on the higher end of the income scale. Our changes to very high cost case fees and the approach that we are taking to Crown court fees are designed to ensure that, so far as possible, the impact of our changes is much less on those people at the bottom end of the income scale than it is at the top.