EU Settlement Scheme

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:39 pm on 29th June 2021.

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Photo of Nick Thomas-Symonds Nick Thomas-Symonds Shadow Home Secretary 2:39 pm, 29th June 2021

I welcome the Minister back to the Dispatch Box.

I congratulate my hon. Friend Paul Blomfield on securing this urgent question. There could not be a more powerful warning to the Government of what happens when innocent people are deprived of their right to be here than the Windrush scandal. Twenty-eight-day warnings advising people to apply for settled status have been issued, despite an estimated 400,000 applications still awaiting processing. As my hon. Friend said, leaked documents suggest that 130,000 people in receipt of benefits have yet to sign up, and that support could be taken away. The Children’s Society has estimated that applications have not been made for more than 2,000 children in care or care leavers. That is why the Opposition have called for an extension of the European Union settlement scheme to the end of September. The Government must then do everything possible to sign up eligible people, with a strategy focusing on the vulnerable, children in care and care leavers.

Will the Minister confirm what is being done to support those who are unable to use or access the internet? More widely, how many eligible individuals does the Home Office believe have yet to sign up, and precisely how many applications are still being processed? Put simply, the Government have not done enough to prevent people from falling through the cracks. To avoid the risk of terrible injustice, surely the Government must extend the deadline to the end of September and use the additional time to ensure that all who are eligible are signed up.