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Legal Aid

Volume 637: debated on Tuesday 6 March 2018

17. What research his Department has conducted on the cost-effectiveness of providing legal aid for early legal help. (904204)

The hon. Lady is absolutely right to highlight the value of early legal advice, which is why the Department spent £100 million in legal aid on early legal advice for civil cases last year.

Citizens Advice has estimated that for every £1 of legal aid spending on housing advice the state would save over £2, and that if the advice was on debt and housing, it would save even more. Will the Minister commit to commissioning research into the cost-effectiveness of reintroducing early legal advice in the housing sector, so that we can save money in the long run?

Advice can already be taken through a telephone hotline in relation to housing. Legal aid is available where homelessness is a risk, and debt leads to homelessness. A whole variety of early legal advice is available through legal aid at the moment, but as the hon. Lady will know, we are conducting a review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, and this issue will be considered.