Legal Aid: Expenditure

Justice written question – answered on 24th January 2008.

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Photo of Howard Stoate Howard Stoate Labour, Dartford

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much was spent on legal aid in each of the last 10 years (a) in cash terms and (b) as a proportion of annual total public expenditure.

Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Table 1 as follows shows legal aid cash expenditure in each of the last 10 years. Table 2 as follows shows that expenditure for both England and Wales and for Northern Ireland as a proportion of total managed expenditure. Legal aid in Scotland is a devolved matter, funded out of the Scottish block grant which also forms part of total managed expenditure.

When compared to other main domestic areas of public spending, legal aid has been one of the fastest growing areas of public sector spending over the past years. For example, the average annual real-terms growth of legal aid over the past 25 years to 2006-07 was 5.7 per cent. This compares with 4.4 per cent. for social care and protection; 4.2 per cent. for public order and safety; 4.1 per cent. for health and 1.9 per cent. for education.

Table 1
£ million, net
England and Wales Northern Ireland Total
1997-98 1529.6 28.9 1,558
1998-99 1628.1 30.1 1,658
1999-2000 1550.1 34.7 1,585
2000-01 1663.7 37.7 1,701
2001-02 1717.0 41.5 1,759
2002-03 1908.5 45.0 1,954
2003-04 2076.7 49.9 2,127
2004-05 2038.0 58.9 2,097
2005-06 2027.8 57.5 2,085
2006-07 1980.3 69.0 2,049
Table 2
Percentage
England and Wales Northern Ireland Total
1997-98 0.47 0.01 0.48
1998-99 0.49 0.01 0.50
1999-2000 0.45 0.01 0.46
2000-01 0.46 0.01 0.47
2001-02 0.44 0.01 0.45
2002-03 0.45 0.01 0.46
2003-04 0.46 0.01 0.47
2004-05 0.41 0.01 0.43
2005-06 0.39 0.01 0.40
2006-07 0.36 0.01 0.37

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