§ Lord Gainford
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the reduction in the number of cases coming before the criminal courts is likely to result in any change in the level of legal aid expenditure contained in the Supply Estimates.
§ The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern)
The 1993–94 Supply Estimate provision for legal aid is £1,284 million, net of receipts. Based on figures for expenditure to the end of August, we now forecast that net expenditure for legal aid in the current year is likely to be £1,254 million. At this stage in the year, however, there is inevitably still uncertainty about the eventual outturn. The reduction in the forecast is largely related to criminal legal aid. The changes in eligibility introduced in April, the effect of which was almost entirely in relation to civil legal aid and advice and assistance appear to be having broadly the effect anticipated.