HC Deb 23 March 2001 vol 365 c418W
Helen Jackson

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what proposals the Lord Chancellor has to provide divorcing and separating couples with access to information, legal help, mediation and counselling services. [155724]

Jane Kennedy

The Government continue to finance both mediation and legal advice and representation through the Legal Services Commission. The Lord Chancellor also provides funding for marriage and relationship support organisations, which will increase to £4.5 million in 2001–02 and £5 million in 2002–03. Officials are currently working with the Legal Services Commission in order to pilot proposals to tie these services more closely together, in Family Advice and Information Networks, which will be able to provide a range of information and help to those experiencing family problems, either directly or by referring them to other local support and information agencies. These proposals will build on research evidence, in order to enable us to provide the information and help that people want at the time that they need it. We expect piloting to begin by October 2001.