§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment he has made of the advantages of extending legal aid eligibility to recipients of(a) incapacity benefit at the long-term rate and (b) severe disablement allowance. 
§ Mr. Hoon
The recently announced proposals for the reform of the legal aid scheme are aimed at controlling expenditure. It is only when spending is under better control that we can consider extending the number of benefits which automatically qualify an applicant for legal aid.
Recipients of the benefits mentioned are not excluded from the legal aid scheme. However, they do not automatically qualify. Since the award of these benefits is not means tested a financial assessment must be undertaken before legal aid can be granted.