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extension of leave to remain

Part of Coronavirus Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:30 pm on 23rd March 2020.

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Photo of Jeffrey M. Donaldson Jeffrey M. Donaldson DUP Chief Whip, Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business in the House of Commons) 9:30 pm, 23rd March 2020

Thank you Dame Eleanor. I will be brief.

I want to speak to new clause 5, in my name. As we have heard, there have been calls from across the UK to look out for the members of our society who are elderly and vulnerable. I wish to add my voice and to say that the victims of modern slavery must be addressed urgently. I spoke to the Minister’s colleague earlier today, and I have received assurances from the Minister. I welcome the fact that the Department is working closely with the Salvation Army, which is the contractor dealing with these issues. I have faith that it will do the right thing and look after these people, but it is important to issue guidance on this issue when possible.

I recognise that the Department is pressed and that officials are working hard on this issue, but I really hope the Government will be able to address my concerns, particularly to ensure that the victims of modern slavery continue to receive special payments; that where their key worker is off ill due to the virus, someone else will liaise with them and keep in contact; that there are arrangements to address the need to protect them when they are in shared or cramped accommodation, as is often the case; and that the Government will look into these matters and ensure that these vulnerable people, who are already victims, are not further victimised or isolated as a result of a lack of capacity to deal with these issues and concerns at the moment. I am looking for that assurance, and I hope the Government will be able to issue guidance along the lines I have suggested in new clause 5.