Last night’s fifth day of the House of Lords committee stage of the legal aid bill brought a significant concession. Clause 12, which allowed the government to restrict the availability of police station advice and in particular introduce means testing, will be amended. This is what the minister said:
Lord McNally: My Lords, if I may interrupt, this may ruin a few speeches but I think it will help if I say that the Government intend to table an amendment to Clause 12 on Report that will remove the power to introduce means testing for initial advice and assistance at the police station.
This is the third shift on the bill, following earlier concessions on immigration domestic violence cases and special educational needs, and there have also been government amendments to clarify the scope of housing work. The bulk of the cuts remain, however, and parliamentary time is running out.