Legal Aid (Non-EU Citizens)

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 6th May 2014.

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Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon 2:30 pm, 6th May 2014

How much legal aid was granted last year to non-UK citizens.

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

We do not, as I discovered when I took the job, rather to my surprise, currently have data on the nationality or residence status of legal aid recipients. I think that in the future, individuals should in principle have a strong connection to the UK in order to benefit from civil legal aid.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his answer. It is quite a surprise, perhaps, that we have not kept a record of that in the past, but I am very grateful to him for the changes that he has made to the residence test, which should mean that whatever figure we spent on non-nationals last year, it will be saved for the British taxpayer looking forward. My constituents will welcome that.

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

We hear the chuckles from the Labour party, but let us face it: I had the same experience at the Department for Work and Pensions. The reality is, Labour opened the door to immigration on a scale we had not seen before in this country. They kept absolutely no record of where state money was going. The reality is that they mismanaged things; we are picking up the pieces.