Legal Aid (Industrial Tribunals)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Lord Chancellor's Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd March 1997.

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Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Parliamentary Secretary (Lord Chancellor's Department) 12:00 am, 3rd March 1997

My hon. Friend knows that our policy is to bring the legal aid budget under control—to bring an end to its demand-led, runaway nature before any thoughts of applying legal aid elsewhere can be entertained. I was therefore shocked to read the shadow Lord Chancellor's proposals to extend legal aid to industrial tribunals that appeared in the New Statesman in December. [Interruption.] I have it here and can read it if the hon. Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng) wants me to.

Every year, 80,000 cases are heard by industrial tribunals. If only half of them were to attract £1,000 per case, that would add £40 million to the legal aid bill. Is it any wonder that the first act of any unlikely incoming Labour Government would be to have a summer Budget to pay for their massive spending plans?