Debates between Lucy Frazer and Richard Burgon

There have been 11 exchanges between Lucy Frazer and Richard Burgon

1 Tue 14th July 2020 Oral Answers to Questions
Ministry of Justice
6 interactions (336 words)
2 Tue 8th October 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Ministry of Justice
5 interactions (516 words)
3 Tue 23rd April 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Ministry of Justice
5 interactions (470 words)
4 Tue 5th February 2019 Oral Answers to Questions
Ministry of Justice
3 interactions (254 words)
5 Tue 18th December 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Ministry of Justice
7 interactions (542 words)
6 Tue 13th November 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Ministry of Justice
5 interactions (360 words)
7 Tue 9th October 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Ministry of Justice
2 interactions (161 words)
8 Tue 10th July 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Ministry of Justice
3 interactions (181 words)
9 Tue 5th June 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Ministry of Justice
5 interactions (382 words)
10 Tue 8th May 2018 Criminal Legal Aid
Ministry of Justice
2 interactions (1,036 words)
11 Tue 24th April 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Ministry of Justice
3 interactions (272 words)

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Lucy Frazer and Richard Burgon
Tuesday 14th July 2020

(3 weeks, 1 day ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ministry of Justice
Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon (Leeds East) (Lab) - Hansard

What plans he has to improve links between probation services and (a) local employers, (b) adult education colleges, (c) health authorities and (d) jobcentres. [904707]

Lucy Frazer Portrait The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lucy Frazer) - Hansard

Joining up probation to other community services is critical. The new model for probation will allow us to build on local links that have already been forged. In the future probation system, more than £100 million a year will be spent on specialist rehabilitative and resettlement services, including education and employment.

Break in Debate

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Jul 2020, 12:11 p.m.

Like the hon. Member, I pay tribute to the dedicated work of all those who have been working in the community rehabilitation companies across the country and, indeed, the National Probation Service. I welcome the work of the CRC in her area. As I mentioned, £100 million has been put forward for the new scheme—the dynamic framework, which has already been launched—so that local voluntary sector and private companies can bid to provide local services in communities. I look forward to seeing their bids.

Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon [V] - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Jul 2020, 12:12 p.m.

The Government were warned repeatedly that privatising probation would be a disaster—that it would cost more and leave the public less safe. The Government not only ignored those warnings but spent years ignoring the mounting evidence of their failed policy. They have practically had to be dragged kicking and screaming to finally agree to reverse this catastrophic privatisation. If they are finally going to properly sort out rehabilitation, is it not time to end, once and for all, the racket of mega-corporations like Sodexo, Serco and G4S profiting from our prisons and probation services?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard

We believe that we should provide good services, whether that is by the public sector or by the private sector. We have in operation some excellent public service prisons, as we do some excellent private sector prisons. We are very pleased that we are integrating probation into the public service, providing a very important role, but we will continue to ensure that private sector companies and local voluntary sector companies can bid for rehabilitative services through the £100 million dynamic framework.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Lucy Frazer and Richard Burgon
Tuesday 8th October 2019

(10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ministry of Justice
Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard
8 Oct 2019, 11:36 a.m.

I pay tribute to the centre’s work, which I am sure is important to the hon. Lady’s local community. There is funding from a variety of sources for women’s centres and, as I mentioned, it is something we will be looking at very carefully as we develop the female strategy. We have funded a number of very valuable women’s centres over the past year, including the Sunflower Centre in Plymouth and a new women’s centre in York.

Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon (Leeds East) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
8 Oct 2019, 11:37 a.m.

Two thirds of women sent to prison get sentences of less than six months. Such sentences are proven to lead to more reoffending, and so create more victims of crime than tried and tested alternatives such as women’s centres. The Justice Secretary and his team know this, but they have chosen to ignore the evidence. Will the Minister tell the House today how many crimes her Department’s own research shows will be prevented by investing in such alternatives to ineffective short prison sentences?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard
8 Oct 2019, 11:37 a.m.

We are very interested in looking at alternatives to prison sentences. Although we want the most serious offenders who commit serious violence and sexual crimes to spend the appropriate time in prison, we want to ensure there are sentences on offer in which the judiciary have confidence and that will turn people’s lives around. We are already working to improve the quality of information that sentencers receive about community sentencing options, including, for example, whether an offender is a primary caregiver and is pregnant or has given birth in the previous six months, so they can take that into account and give the appropriate sentence.

Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon - Hansard
8 Oct 2019, 11:38 a.m.

To help with that answer: the Government’s own research says that investment in alternatives would see more than 30,000 fewer crimes every year, an answer the Minister omitted, yet the Tories are deliberately choosing to ignore the evidence and are failing to invest properly in women’s centres and other proven alternatives. Instead, they are chasing “hang ’em and flog ’em” headlines, thinking that will help them win the coming general election. Luckily, the British people are not the mugs they are trying to take them for.

Does the Minister agree with her own Department’s report from July, which notes a

“statistically significant increase in proven reoffending”

for those on short sentences rather than effective community alternatives? If so, will she act on it?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard

I think the hon. Gentleman failed to listen to my previous answer on the importance the Government place on appropriate sentences and on our particular strategy for female offenders. I was at HMP Send a few weeks ago, and I saw how we are turning people’s lives around in prison. I met a woman who was due for a parole hearing—she is a lifer who has served 10 years—and she told me that she is not actually ready to be released because of the amazing support she is getting through the therapeutic community in her prison. For the first time, she is realising the consequences of her actions. We are absolutely committed to ensuring that women get the right sentences and the right provision in the community and in the prisons.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Lucy Frazer and Richard Burgon
Tuesday 23rd April 2019

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ministry of Justice
Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard
23 Apr 2019, 2:55 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman mentions housing. It is right that, across the country, some areas are quite sparsely populated, but people can always get advice on the telephone gateway. There are 134 housing and debt procurement areas, and as of 31 March 2019, there is at least one provider offering housing and debt services in all but five procurement areas. The Legal Aid Agency recently concluded a procurement process, and services in three of those areas will commence on 1 May. The agency is considering how to procure provision in the remaining two.

Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon (Leeds East) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
23 Apr 2019, 2:55 p.m.

Government cuts to legal aid have left tens of thousands of welfare benefit claimants without the ability to appeal flawed DWP decisions. We continue to see harrowing stories of those who have suffered after such poor decisions. Those cuts left tens of thousands of tenants unable to take on lousy landlords, and left migrants unable to fight back against the Conservative party’s hostile environment. Can the Minister explain why these vulnerable people are far too easily cast aside, while the private companies failing in our prison, probation and courts systems are too readily bailed out? Does this not sum up in whose interests the Conservative party governs?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard
23 Apr 2019, 2:56 p.m.

This party and this Government would like to support all people who need support, but we need to provide it in a way that is efficient, provides a good service and uses taxpayers’ money well. That is why we set out in our legal aid support strategy a variety of pilots that we will hold to help people in a variety of areas of law—housing, immigration—and all these can be bid for. We are putting forward £5 million for people to develop and put in place technology provision, face-to-face support and other support for legal aid.

Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon - Parliament Live - Hansard
23 Apr 2019, 2:56 p.m.

It is just not good enough because all too often the Government spin against legal aid, with talk of fat cat lawyers and unmeritorious claims, but the latest figures show that the number of not-for-profit providers, such as law centres, has fallen by nearly two thirds under this Government. Will the Minister follow Labour’s lead and commit to funding a new generation of social welfare lawyers that can empower communities to battle against injustice and a new generation of law centres that can empower people to fight back against cruel Government policies?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard

While the professions and those who provide support are incredibly important—that is why, as I mentioned earlier, we have put £23 million more into criminal legal aid professionals—we would like to focus on helping those who need that support. That is why we are focusing on our £5 million innovation fund to find out what sort of support people need and how best to provide that support. We recommend and hope to support bids from legal advice centres as well as from professionals.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Lucy Frazer and Richard Burgon
Tuesday 5th February 2019

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ministry of Justice
Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Feb 2019, 12:07 p.m.

I am happy to meet the hon. Lady to discuss that specific situation. The MOJ is taking a number of steps to improve court timeliness, which is of course important. We are digitalising a number of services—people can now track their tribunal appeal online—and recruiting more judges to tribunals, with more than 225 recruited over the past year. I am happy to discuss that particular case.

Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon (Leeds East) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Feb 2019, 12:07 p.m.

Under the smokescreen of a digital revolution, the Government have taken the axe to our court system. A victim of crime who wants justice through their day in court will now have a much more difficult experience, perhaps having to travel much further after the closure of hundreds of courts, and perhaps finding that the help and support they need are lacking after the sacking of thousands of court staff. Given the recent chaos, instead of forcing through yet more court reforms, will the Minister agree to a moratorium on further cuts and closures, at least until this House has been offered a chance to scrutinise changes that will affect access to justice for decades to come?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard

The hon. Gentleman is right to identify the fact that an IT issue affected courts towards the end of January. That disruption was caused by an infrastructure issue in our supplier’s data and I apologise for any issues for people who were affected. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that we have consulted on what principles will guide any future court closures, and that consultation has now come to an end.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Lucy Frazer and Richard Burgon
Tuesday 18th December 2018

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ministry of Justice
Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard
18 Dec 2018, 11:47 a.m.

As I mentioned, the Prime Minister has made it clear that she is seeking to ensure that the measures that underlay them, and the co-operation within them, will continue as far as possible post Brexit.

I should mention, because the hon. and learned Lady often asks about liaison with the Scottish Government, that I spoke to my counterpart, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice on 29 November, and he reiterated to me how pleased he was with our engagement at official level on the negotiations with the EU.

Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon (Leeds East) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
18 Dec 2018, 11:49 a.m.

The Government have created a Brexit crisis through their rotten deal, which is abhorred by both sides of the House. While the Prime Minister runs scared of democracy and delays the meaningful vote, Cabinet responsibility has broken down, with Ministers pitching their own plan B or even plotting leadership bids. Planning for future judicial collaboration with Europe is suffering as a result. The Justice Committee says the Government are providing “little detail or certainty” about future judicial co-operation. The Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee warns of a “worrying level of complacency”. When will the Secretary of State pay as much attention to dealing with this problem as he does to problems in his own party?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard

My Department is making a lot of efforts to ensure we have the right deal. We have received £17 million for EU Brexit preparations. We have over 110 full-time employees, including newly recruited employees, working across deal and no deal. I would say, as the Lord Chancellor said in his FT article at the weekend, that the Conservative party is ensuring the future of our country, whereas the leader of the Labour party is just trying to make political points to ensure a general election.

Break in Debate

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard
18 Dec 2018, 12:10 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman will have heard that we are doing a review of legal aid, which will be published early in the new year. I was interested to read the recent Scottish Government report on legal aid, which implements a number of the things that we are already doing, including using technology to help our court processes.

Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon (Leeds East) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
18 Dec 2018, 12:10 p.m.

The current Prime Minister unleashed the Home Office’s hostile environment against migrants, and the Windrush scandal shows just how easily people can fall foul of this Government’s complex and cruel immigration rules. It is even tougher for those who have to navigate this hostile environment without legal advice, yet access to legal aid-funded immigration advice has fallen by 68% under the Tories, from 120,000 cases in 2010 to 39,000 cases this year. So do the Government regret scrapping such publicly funded legal advice that can save people from unfair decisions and deportations, and if so, will they reinstate it?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard
18 Dec 2018, 12:10 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman has not made that offer. The Opposition have made an offer in relation to welfare, but not, I note, in relation to immigration. Let me remind him that people can already get legal advice for asylum and non-asylum cases, and for cases involving detention, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, domestic violence and trafficking. I want to make it clear to the House and to everyone who is listening that people are often not claiming legal aid because they do not believe they are entitled to it, because the Opposition and some others suggest that it is not available.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Lucy Frazer and Richard Burgon
Tuesday 13th November 2018

(1 year, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ministry of Justice
Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Hansard
13 Nov 2018, 11:30 a.m.

Family reunion is an important issue, and I have met a number of Members to discuss that Bill. As the hon. Gentleman knows, we are looking at legal aid broadly and will set out the consequences of our review by the end of the year.

Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon (Leeds East) (Lab) - Hansard
13 Nov 2018, 11:30 a.m.

Of all the cuts to justice, the slashing of legal advice for sick and disabled people who are unfairly denied their benefits is one of the cruellest. We now have a shameful situation whereby people are first denied the financial support to which they are entitled and then must struggle through a difficult appeal without legal advice. This situation is bad enough already, but it will be even tougher under universal credit. Under the Conservatives, legal advice for welfare benefits cases has been cut by 99%. Is the Minister ashamed that sick and disabled people are paying the price for this Government’s ideological cuts agenda, or was that the deliberate intention?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Hansard
13 Nov 2018, 11:30 a.m.

I am not aware of any representations from the Labour party in relation to any provisions that it would make on legal aid funding. This is an important area involving people who are vulnerable and need help. Prior to LASPO, people did not get help at the representation stage of welfare cases—only at the advice stage. We are making a number of changes to make the tribunal process that people go through much simpler and more straightforward.

Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon - Hansard
13 Nov 2018, 11:30 a.m.

Let us be clear: legal advice was given to 91,000 people in the year before this Government’s reforms to legal aid. How many was it last year? It was 478 people, not 91,000. Can the Minister honestly tell the House that the need for legal advice has reduced by such a degree, or should we instead conclude that—just as with employment tribunal fees, housing advice, employment advice and immigration advice—the cuts to legal advice for the sick and disabled are really about targeting the weak so that they can enrich the powerful?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Hansard

As I mentioned earlier, we spend £100 million on legal help and we are improving the tribunals service to enable people to access and liaise with judges to improve their process through the court system.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Lucy Frazer and Richard Burgon
Tuesday 9th October 2018

(1 year, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ministry of Justice
Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Hansard

As I represent a rural constituency, I completely understand my right hon. Friend’s point. The Government have recently consulted on the powers available to local authorities to deal with such problems and we are now looking at how we might strengthen the powers of local authorities and landowners.

Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon (Leeds East) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Oct 2018, 3:34 p.m.

The Prime Minister told her party conference that austerity is over, but if that were true, everyone in the justice sector would be breathing a huge sigh of relief. Tory cuts have unleashed an unprecedented crisis in our prisons and wider justice system. Justice faces the deepest cuts of any Department, totalling 40%, with £800 million in cuts between April 2018 and 2020 alone. Those cuts risk pushing justice from deep crisis into full-blown emergency, so will the Secretary of State confirm that that £800 million of cuts will not go ahead? If not, will he agree with me that the Prime Minister’s words were nothing more than yet another Tory con trick?

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Lucy Frazer and Richard Burgon
Tuesday 10th July 2018

(2 years ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ministry of Justice
Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2018, 11:49 a.m.

My hon. Friend makes an important point. We are of course recruiting more prison officers. Enjoying one’s work is not just about pay, and the reward strategy in prisons is about officers working closely with their prison governors to ensure that they have an opportunity to develop in work and get the most out of their work.

Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon (Leeds East) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard
10 Jul 2018, 11:49 a.m.

I regularly ask parliamentary questions about staffing levels and conditions at the private probation companies. The answers from the Department are shocking. None of the community rehabilitation company contracts specifies that CRCs must maintain staffing numbers at a particular level. When Ministers bailed out the private probation companies last year with another £342 million, they did not bother to make staffing levels a contractual obligation. Why not? Does the Department not care about accountability? Or is it because, in the Secretary of State’s privatised probation service, profits always come first?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard

We believe it is important that systems work and that outcomes are effective. The contracts focus on ensuring that the right outcomes are achieved, not on the number of people who work under them.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Lucy Frazer and Richard Burgon
Tuesday 5th June 2018

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ministry of Justice
Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Jun 2018, 11:38 a.m.

The hon. Lady has made an important point. The Government have done a significant amount in relation to domestic violence, understanding that it often involves not just physical abuse but, as the hon. Lady says, coercive control. We have also changed many of the guidelines relating to domestic violence so that people who have experienced such abuse can obtain legal aid more easily. I hope that that resolves some of the problems that the hon. Lady has identified.

Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon (Leeds East) (Lab) - Parliament Live - Hansard

The Government’s cuts in legal aid have caused widespread damage to access to justice. The Information Commissioner has now taken serious action against the Ministry of Justice, owing to its refusal to publish in full the findings of its own research, which reveal judges’ deep concerns about the damage that is being caused. Would not the Government have spent their time better in trying to fix the broken justice system, rather than engaging in crass attempts to cover up embarrassing research findings showing the failures of their legal aid policies?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Jun 2018, 11:39 a.m.

As the hon. Gentleman will know, we are currently engaged in an extensive review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. We have met with over 50 organisations or individuals so far this year. I am aware that a complaint has been made to the Information Commissioner’s Office, and my Department is working closely with the ICO on this matter.

Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon - Parliament Live - Hansard
5 Jun 2018, 11:40 a.m.

The truth is that our legal aid and wider justice system is in crisis—a crisis created by this Government’s reckless cuts agenda—and the Government seem to be trying to bury the truth about the legal aid crisis. The research I referred to that was hidden away said that the judges

“believe unrepresented defendant numbers have increased and this is disproportionately reducing the efficiency of the courts.”

So will the Government today come clean and explain to this House why such evidence from judges about the scale of the damage the Government’s cuts are causing to access to justice was removed from the published report?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Hansard

The hon. Gentleman will know that 99% of people who claim legal aid in the Crown courts are granted it. He will also know that in the report he identified, although there are some unrepresented defendants, most people surveyed said that did not make a difference to outcomes.

Criminal Legal Aid

Debate between Lucy Frazer and Richard Burgon
Tuesday 8th May 2018

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ministry of Justice
Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon - Hansard
8 May 2018, 8:45 p.m.

That is a very important point. The whole swathe of court closures that have occurred have really done damage to the principle of justice accessible to all and delivered locally, so that point is very important.

The Law Society has issued judicial review proceedings against the Government in relation to further cuts to solicitors’ fees for Crown court work, and that crisis is not one that will go away. The issue for barristers will not be settled if the Government vote against our motion and carry on regardless. I understand that there is a presumption that barristers are all highly paid and some will want to paint this as being about more money going to the wealthy, but the CBA briefing points out that average pre-tax pay is about £28,000. Barristers are self-employed and the headline figures often exclude expenses, including the costs of office space, travel, staff, insurance, pension and sick pay, which the CBA estimates account for about half of a barrister’s turnover.

To draw my remarks to a conclusion, I want to cite an anecdote published by one criminal defence lawyer:

“Today I helped a colleague out by prosecuting the sentencing hearing in one of his cases, in a court 94 miles away from my home. The fee for that hearing is £60. £10 of that goes straight to my chambers as rent. I spent £33 on petrol and £6.30 on parking. The CPS do pay some travel—I think I’ll get £23.50 for this. Therefore, I come out with £34. The offence, by the way, was an assault on a baby. It was a 2pm hearing, so I left home at 10 and got home at 5. During those 7 hours, apart from the 10 mins I spent eating my packed lunch, I was either driving, getting ready for the hearing, in court, or explaining the outcome (a prison sentence) to the baby’s family. I don’t wish to sound ungrateful for my £34. I just can’t help but feel a little undervalued. I’ve been at the criminal Bar for 9 years. The government decides how much to pay me, and I think they take advantage of me, my skills, and my sense of public duty. #TheLawIsBroken”.

I hope you will forgive me, Mr Deputy Speaker, if, when the hon. Member for North Dorset, who has left the Chamber, invites me to condemn people such as that barrister, I do not do so. I hope you will forgive me if, when the hon. Gentleman who has left says that this person should be forced to go to work, I say that I do not agree with such a cruel and detached analysis.

The Government will say that they sought consensus on these issues, and that the Ministry of Justice has worked with the CBA and the Bar Council, although there are different accounts of those talks. The truth of the matter is that the Government have failed, as hundreds of barristers are now taking direct action. They have failed, as there is press speculation of further barrister action if they press on with this scheme tonight, with walkouts and returns not being done, which would send our courts into chaos. The Government have failed, as people in our justice system are being affected. Whatever one makes of it, the Government’s approach has not created consensus; it has created a backlash. When they are in a hole, the Government should stop digging.

The Criminal Bar Association has made a formal request for the Ministry of Justice to delay, withdraw, amend or reconsider the implementation of this statutory instrument. The Government should listen to the CBA, not deny that there is a problem. They should put the new scheme on hold and set about fixing it. To do that, they should do the right thing in tonight’s vote. I commend the motion to the House.

Lucy Frazer Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Lucy Frazer) - Hansard

I congratulate the hon. Member for Leeds East (Richard Burgon) on securing this debate, which relates to the value of the independent Bar. It is therefore important for me, as a former barrister: I understand very clearly the role that advocates play in justice. The work done by the criminal Bar, day in, day out, up and down the country, is a fundamental part of our justice system. It is criminal barristers, criminal advocates, who ensure that people, often at the most desperate time of their lives, get the opportunity to have their points put coherently and effectively, when their futures are on the line, ensuring justice. I start by acknowledging and thanking criminal barristers for the hard work that they do.

The Lord Chancellor and I have heard many concerns about the wider justice system in the short four months since we took office. We take those concerns very seriously and we are committed to ensuring that there is an efficient and effective support for those who go through our court system. We want people to have every confidence in every part of their justice system. We want a system that supports victims and ensures a smooth and efficient process for litigants, and a legal profession that is enticing at every level for those who want to work within it.

Those are all important points, but the hon. Member for Leeds East has prayed against a statutory instrument. In the interests of advocates affected by that instrument, we should now focus on the issues that it raises. It is appropriate to start with four clear facts. First, this scheme was put together in close co-operation with the Bar leadership. Secondly, the scheme does not bring in a cut; at the very least, it is cost neutral, but it is more likely to give rise to an increase in expenditure, given that built into the calculations is a £9 million risk of such an increase. Thirdly, the scheme is more advantageous to the Bar overall than the one it replaces, particularly for those at the junior end. Fourthly, a clear commitment was given at the time the scheme came in that the Government would review it in 18 to 24 months. If, in the course of that review, legitimate concerns are raised about the system and a good case is made for investment, we will look at those proposals.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Lucy Frazer and Richard Burgon
Tuesday 24th April 2018

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ministry of Justice
Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Hansard
24 Apr 2018, midnight

My hon. Friend makes a valid point, as has his neighbour, my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Rishi Sunak). I have met them both and the police and crime commissioner for the area. It is important to consider the appropriateness of pilots for mobile technology, and we will do so.

Richard Burgon Portrait Richard Burgon (Leeds East) (Lab) - Hansard
24 Apr 2018, midnight

Thousands of key court staff were axed, but the Government are now spending tens of millions of pounds more on contracting agency staff. More than 100 courts were sold off, each raising not much more than the average house price. Now the Secretary of State has appointed someone with a slash-and-burn record as the new chair of the HMCTS board, telling the press that Tim Parker’s

“expertise will be vital as we deliver our reform and modernisation of the courts”.

To allay concerns that Mr Parker has been appointed for his toughness on cuts, can the Minister outline the specific expertise that Mr Parker has in working in our court system?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer - Hansard
24 Apr 2018, midnight

The hon. Gentleman makes a number of points that I would like to refute, but I will mainly concentrate on two. It is important that where successful people in business put themselves forward for public service, we should welcome them and not put off experienced people from taking up important posts. Mr Parker has been successful in the businesses that he operated and has operated them appropriately, and we welcome him to his post. The hon. Gentleman also talks about cuts to our system. I would like to make it clear that the Ministry of Justice is proposing an extensive reform programme, which will put £1 billion into our courts service.