HC Deb 23 March 1999 vol 328 cc133-4W
37. Dr. Whitehead

To ask the Minister of State, Lord Chancellor's Department what measures he is taking to ensure that the proposed reduction in approved legal aid practices does not result in geographical inequality of access to legal aid. [76344]

Mr. Hoon

We are intent on providing access to quality assured legal service providers for those who qualify for help from public funds. Over seven thousand firms have already applied to join the bid panel for the first round of contracts. We expect to let over five thousand for family work alone. Comprehensive coverage will be achieved by matching legal provision to community need. There will not be a shortage of providers and the needs of all geographical areas will be catered for.