Responding to comments from Community Safety Minister Ash Regan who said that further improvements to legal aid would be made on top of a 5% increase in fees which was confirmed on Tuesday, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur said:
"Solicitors across Scotland have been unflinching in calling out the Scottish Government over its failure to properly fund legal aid. At times, this cannot have been easy, but it has forced SNP Ministers to think again.
"We await the detail, of course, and with a government that has ‘previous’ when it comes to deploying ‘announce and retreat’ tactics, seeing what this actually means in practice will be vital. The test, of course, is whether it is enough to reverse the steady decline we have seen over the years in the number of solicitors and firms providing legal aid.
“The pandemic caused disruption, making worse the backlogs that courts already faced pre-Covid. Meantime, the hollowing out of legal aid representation has had serious consequences not least in denying access to justice for many.
“While today’s announcement is welcome, Scottish Liberal Democrats believe this government has a long way to go in making up lost ground”