HC Deb 12 February 2002 vol 380 c68
38. Mr. Stephen O'Brien (Eddisbury)

What estimates his Department has made of the costs of the proposals by Lord Justice Auld for reorganisation of the criminal courts in England and Wales; and if he will make a statement. [32373]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Mr. Michael Wills)

Estimates of costs will be made in the light of decisions that will be taken following the consultation on the report of Lord Justice Auld, which ended on 31 January. As the hon. Gentleman is well aware, these decisions have not yet been taken and the Government will announce their conclusions by way of a White Paper in the spring.

Mr. O'Brien

I thank the Minister for his answer. Given the patent confusion that exists, as we know from information found in a pub off St. James's park, what is driving the Government's response to the Auld report? Is it cost savings or the interests of justice?

Mr. Wills

As the hon. Gentleman is well aware, our response to the Auld review is driven by our manifesto commitments and the results of the very wide consultation that we have just finished.