[Mr Adrian Bailey in the Chair] — Access to Justice: Vulnerable People

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:30 am on 19th January 2016.

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Photo of Stuart McDonald Stuart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Immigration, Asylum and Border Control) 10:30 am, 19th January 2016

The Minister misses the two key points I made in my speech about per capita spend. First, it is not fair just to compare legal aid spending per capita; we have to look at justice spending overall.

Secondly—this is a matter of fact, not explaining things away—the higher per capita spend in England and Wales is a result of things such as the larger number of expensive fraud cases prosecuted south of the border. The proportion of people eligible for civil legal aid in Scotland is about 75%—well in excess of that in England and Wales. The Minister must also bear it in mind that the financial eligibility rules are more generous and the number of legal cases covered is far broader. He should try to learn lessons from the Scottish jurisdiction, so that savings can be made not by removing all sorts of cases and people from the scope of legal aid, but by achieving efficiencies in the system and other changes.