Friday, 4 February 2011

Legal Aid debate

Yesterday, I secured a debate in parliament on the Tory-led Government's proposal to cut £350 million from the Legal Aid Budget.

MPs from across all parties debated for the first time on the floor of the House the controversial proposals set out by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke MP.

The Government is consulting on reforms to the Legal Aid system in England and Wales, set out in a Ministry of Justice consultation which is open until 14th February 2011.

Over half a million people will lose out on advice, according to the Government's own figures, as the legal aid budget is cut by £350 million.

The proposals will very seriously restrict:

• What advice legal aid funds, especially in social welfare, family and education law.
• Who can get legal aid, by asking people on low incomes to pay more towards their legal advice.

The changes will also make it harder for not-for-profit advice agencies, such as Citizens Advice Bureau or Law Centres, to make ends meet. The lowest fees for civil and family law advice will all be cut by 10%.

You can read the full debate here.