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Legal Services Commission — Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:00 pm on 29th January 2013.

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Photo of Lord McNally Lord McNally Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords 3:00 pm, 29th January 2013

My Lords, I am always fascinated by the way in which the noble Lord dismisses £650,000 as a mere bagatelle, but let us also look at the facts. This scheme for funding such bodies was introduced in 2000 and the three bodies in this consultation were awarded three-year contracts at the end of the previous Administration. Since then, we have twice extended their contracts by one year so that what was originally a three-year contract became a five-year contract. However, as I have explained to the House before, I am afraid that we have to concentrate limited funds on bodies that are giving sharp-end legal aid advice. These three bodies, particularly the Advice Services Alliance and the local Law Centres Network, are umbrella bodies that do not give such advice. Therefore, although in happier days they could win such contracts and do such work, there is simply no money.