Taxpayers ‘will pay cost of legal aid cuts’ - claim

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SCARBOROUGH Law Society has claimed that local taxpayers will be left to pay the cost of the Government’s legal aid cuts if they go ahead.

The society has written to Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill and East Yorkshire MP Greg Knight, warning that these knock-on costs will be paid by the local NHS, local authorities and taxpayers in the Yorkshire area.

In the letter, it asks for an urgent meeting with the pair to explain how the legal aid cuts will cause higher demand for over stretched local advice services and to urge the MP to defend access to civil justice.

The King’s College London report, Unintended Consequences: the cost of the Government’s Legal Aid Reforms, shows that the cuts proposed will give rise to unbudgeted costs of at least £139 million.

By substantially reducing the scope of Legal Aid in three main areas alone - family law. social welfare and clinical negligence - the Ministry of Justice claims expected savings of £240 million.

But Kate Young, president of Scarborough Law Society, said the cuts will deny justice to thousands.

She added: “The Kings College Report confirms that much of the Ministry of Justice savings are being achieved at the expense of other areas – such as the NHS.

“The Law Society of England and Wales described this as ‘kamikaze accounting’ which will do little to tackle the deficit while sacrificing access to justice.”