It is great news that after a decade of Court cuts by the current Governments politician’s including when they were in charge of the coalition Government, that finally they are about to start funding the desperately needed Court Maintenance provision. I was Chair of the Surrey and Sussex Courts Board from 2004-09 which was an agency organised by Julia Eeles, and it was set up by the Labour Government. We certainly worked very hard to try to prevent Court’s being closed down without a meaningful arrangement for local people to have ways of getting to Courts given the transport challenges. The Labour Government certainly could have done a great deal more to strengthen Courts than they did. However and it is a big HOWEVER. The cuts that have taken place ever since the General Election of 2010 have been much more severe than ever happened in the previous decade. So when Robert Buckland who is the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, stated a week last Thursday in response to David Lammy
The right hon. Gentleman is right to talk about the past in the justice system, which is why in July I announced the biggest increase in court maintenance in not 10 years, but 20 years; he can do the maths and work out the time that he had partial responsibility for the system. This is not a pure story of life since 2010; I have inherited a system that, frankly, needs a fundamental change, which is what I am doing.
He should be aware that the reality was that Labour did not cut back the maintenance, unlike his Tory predecessors. The Courts and maintenance cuts that took place in the last 10 years are bound to require a bigger increase in maintenance than was ever required in the period of 1997 – 2010. We need this Government to admit that its cuts over the last decade were deeply damaging and they need to acknowledge their mistakes.