Earned Citizenship

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:31 pm on 20th February 2008.

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Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott Labour, Hackney North and Stoke Newington 12:31 pm, 20th February 2008

There is a lot to take in from the Green Paper. I am glad that the Home Secretary corrected the impression that she gave in her opening remarks that there is some sort of presumption that immigrants—or, for that matter, those of us who are the children of immigrants—do not want to work hard and pay tax, do not want to obey the law, and do not want to get involved and contribute to community life.

On the question of the fund and the fees, one aspect raised by local authorities concerning incoming persons is paying for issues to do with children and schools, but many children in my primary schools in Hackney are the children of eastern European immigrants. They will not be paying any extra fees. How can it be fair for non-white immigrants, who already face steep fees, to have those fees ratcheted up even higher to pay for issues that relate to the broad immigrant population, including immigrants from European Union and European economic area countries?