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Legal aid cuts are ‘false economy’

Legal aid cuts are ‘false economy’

Planned legal aid budget cuts would be a false economy and could end up costing the state millions of pounds in hidden knock-on costs, the Government has been warned. Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has said the existing legal aid system is neither affordable nor sensible and faces an “existential crisis”. But a study found the coalition’s proposal to cut legal aid in clinical negligence cases – officially estimated to save the Ministry of Justice about £10.5 million – could cost the Treasury some £28.6 million elsewhere, mainly in NHS expenditure.

The report, carried out by King’s College London for the Law Society, was published as the Government’s Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill faced scrutiny in the House of Lords. It concluded that the proposed reforms, which have already been delayed for six months, were “unlikely to make a significant contribution to reducing the fiscal deficit”.

A solicitor in IBB’s Personal Injury team, comments: “The King’s Fund has demonstrated that while these changes might save the Ministry of Justice some money in the short term, the NHS will face costs which more than wipe out any such savings. “Real joined-up reform is needed to cut the costs to the NHS of clinical negligence claims, but the way to do that is to address quality issues in the care provided by the NHS, and not by tinkering with the relatively miniscule Legal Aid budget.

This is a case of one minister cutting their own budget with no regard for the overall public costs to the taxpayer.” IBB Solicitors has built a reputation for quality of service in pursuing compensation in cases involving accident, illness or death. If you would like advice on personal injury issues, you can contact a member of IBB’s Personal Injury team, call us on 08456 381 381 or email enquiries@ibblaw.co.uk.