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Figures released by the government last week show just how much money has been saved by stopping legal help for most benefits issues.

Last month we revealed that legal aid for disability benefits cases has plummeted by 99% since George Osborne imposed massive cuts on the legal aid system in 2013. The number of cases where legal aid was granted fell from 29,801 in 2011/12 to just 308 in 2016/17.

The new figures show just how much money is being saved as a result.

For ESA, legal help payments in 2010/11 were £2,729,075. This fell to £91,972 in 2016/17, a drop of around 97%.

The figures for DLA were £7,038,075 in 2010/11, before the introduction of PIP. In 2016/17 the combined figures for PIP and DLA were £49,686. This represents a fall of over 99%.

These figures are dreadful on their own. But what they represent is a much greater, probably incalculable, loss.

Because many thousands of claimants will have missed out on benefits they were entitled to, and desperately needed, because they had no-one to advise and support them through the claims and appeals process.

The savings to the state probably run into many tens of millions a year and it is sick and disabled claimants who are paying the price.

You can download the full set of figures from this link.

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