Withdrawal of legal aid delayed by six months

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The Independent Online

Moves to withdraw legal aid from most cases of family breakdown, medical negligence, immigration, debt and welfare benefit, as well as some housing and education issues, are being delayed by six months.

Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, announced a series of embarrassing delays last night to controversial measures to shake up legal aid. The proposals, designed to save £350m, have sparked angry protests, with opponents, including judges and solicitors, accusing the Government of penalising some of the most vulnerable in society.

They were due to come into effect next October, but in a Commons statement Mr Clarke said their introduction was being put off until April 2013. The Ministry of Justice admitted it had not set aside enough time to implement such sweeping changes.