HC Deb 09 May 1978 vol 949 c412W
Mr. Spearing

asked the Attorney-General if he will state the approximate proportion of wage earners who would have qualified for legal aid in 1954, 1969 and 1977, respectively; and if he is satisfied with the present scales of legal aid.

The Solicitor-General

Information relating specifically to wage earners is not available. A recent study by the special consultant to the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Aid, with the help of the Central Statistical Office, showed, however, that in 1950 the proportion of the population eligible for legal aid on income grounds alone was over 80 per cent., though the low capital limits would have reduced this proportion. By 1973 this proportion had fallen to about 40 per cent. of the population, but since then annual upratings in the limits appear to have maintained that level. My noble Friend is not satisfied with the financial limits for legal aid and has already announced that he intends to improve them as soon as sufficient resources are available. In the meantime, my noble Friend proposes to continue his policy of increasing the limits annually to offset the effects of inflation.