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Legal aid and NHS database project under threat

In a prime example of how the UK government is stuck between "a rock and a hard place" with regards to future funding, buried deep in the pre-budget report were plans to reduce investment in legal aid and the NHS database project, which is the largest public sector project anywhere in the world. Despite repeated denials that frontline public sector services would be hit, it seems Alistair Darling is looking to save around £5 billion by reducing investment in legal aid and the NHS database.

It is ironic that the legal aid system is under threat with the human rights act, brought in by the current government, leading to a massive upward spiral in the cost of legal aid over the last decade. While a multi-million pound saving from the NHS database project (believed to be upwards of £600 million) will be well received, let's not forget that £4 billion has already been invested into the project with the venture now the years behind schedule and still rumoured to be costing in the region of £12 billion.

The phrase "robbing Peter to pay Paul" is one which brings to mind and one which will be very prominent in the weeks, months and years ahead.

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