My Lords, in rising to support Amendment 83, tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, to which I have added my name along with the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, and the noble Lord, Lord Alton, I declare my interests as set out in the register.
I set out my reasons for supporting this amendment in Committee. We should simply not have a situation whereby people, including children, are excluded from the citizenship to which they are eligible because they do not have funds. It is nonsensical for the Government to put up a barrier to people being, and feeling, fully part of our society. The Government rightly talk about the importance of integration, community cohesion and levelling up. This policy works against all three of those.
Being a British citizen is completely different from indefinite leave to remain, and this must be constantly recognised. If people are eligible to be citizens, cost should not be a barrier. The registering of British people’s citizenship should have no revenue function, and fees should be removed altogether for children in care and for those whose registration is provided to correct a historical injustice.
I simply urge the Minister to hear the strength of feeling in the House, accept this amendment and deal with it once and for all.