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House of Lords

Wednesday, 19 March 2014.

3 pm

Prayers—read by the Lord Bishop of St Albans.

Automotive Industry

Question

3.06 pm

Asked by Lord Borwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect on Midlands-based industrial component companies of the increase in automotive production in the United Kingdom.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The revival of the automotive sector has created component supply opportunities across the UK. Sertec, for example, a Midlands-based supplier to JLR, has seen its turnover quadruple and will create 400 new jobs over the next four years. The Automotive Council has identified a potential £3 billion in opportunities for UK-based manufacturers where components are currently sourced overseas. To help marry this opportunity with investor appetite, we have created the Automotive Investment Organisation.

Lord Borwick (Con): My Lords, I thank the Minister for his Answer. There are many small companies that survived somehow through the recession and showed great courage to keep their teams together and to continue to invest, often while reducing their own pay as directors. Does the Minister agree that these companies should be praised for doing the right thing?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: I acknowledge my noble friend’s comments and applaud those small companies that have maintained customer relations through often tough trading conditions, sometimes by ploughing back past profits into the business. They in turn rely on large manufacturers remaining here in the UK. For example, General Motors’ decision to retain its Ellesmere Port facility and grow its local supply chain while making cuts elsewhere is testament to our flexible, skilled workforce and collaborative working between government, industry and the unions.

Lord Bilimoria (CB): My Lords, in 2008, soon after Tata took over Jaguar Land Rover, I visited its factory. At that time, it faced huge challenges. Today, Jaguar Land Rover is making more in profits than it paid for the company six years ago. I was with the chief executive, Dr Ralf Speth, last week, who said that the most important thing to them is innovation. What are the Government doing to promote, support and encourage innovation in the automotive industry and in manufacturing?

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Viscount Younger of Leckie: Much innovation is going on, across a range of issues. It is very good that we have announced today some help particularly for apprenticeships and a doubling of funding for our direct lending programme to £3 billion. Innovation is key to making sure that the products that we make are in demand abroad, not just in Europe but beyond.

Lord Soley (Lab): Does the Minister, who is a generous man, agree that the scrap-and-buy-new cars scheme introduced by the previous Prime Minister in 2009 deserves grateful thanks for the revival of the automotive industry following a particularly difficult period?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: Indeed. It is good to hear that. Last year, we produced more than 1.5 million cars in the UK, which was 3% up on 2012, so it is a real success story, with a car rolling off a British production line every 20 seconds. The UK has now overtaken France as the third largest European car producer, behind Germany and Spain.

Lord Stoneham of Droxford (LD): My Lords, the transformation of the car industry is remarkable, but only one-third of car components are sourced in the UK. With the growing concern about shortages of technical skills, does the Minister agree that a similar transformation of our technical education is urgently required?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: That is certainly true and I welcome the challenge. We established the Automotive Investment Organisation with up to £3 million-worth of funding over the next two years. It aims to double the number of jobs created or secured in the automotive supply chain through foreign direct investment over the next three years to 15,000. The Government certainly support investment, R&D and skills. For example, we fund an industry-led project with £13.4 million for training to help improve the competitiveness and capability of automotive supply chain companies.

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (Lab): Does the Minister agree that at the heart of the excellent news that he just gave about the automotive industry is the ongoing strategic collaboration between government and industry through the Automotive Council—a simple Labour innovation bringing together the modern face of engaged and flexible trade unionism with management and the Secretary of State? What plans has the Minister to introduce this to other sectors of our economy?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: There is much going on across government in all sectors. I will write to the noble Lord with details of that particular issue. At the moment, we are focused on the automotive car sector and supply chains.

Lord Elton (Con): My Lords, the Minister recognised the need for innovation in maintaining a healthy industry. Innovation depends on R&D—research and development. The Government have a programme for grant-aiding research and development in industry. The important

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thing is that the money comes while the initiative and manpower are there to accept it. What is the average time taken by the Government to respond to applications for R&D grants? Is it faster than the snail-like progress of the European Union?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: That is a very specific question from my noble friend; I will write to him with an answer.

Lord West of Spithead (Lab): My Lords, do we get pull-through from our amazing British innovation and skill in the F1 arena, where we are world leaders, into our automotive industry?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: Yes, indeed we do. That gives me a chance to applaud the Formula 1 and car industry in this country, where we are number one in the world.

Lord Harrison (Lab): Does the Minister recognise that the automotive industry now is classically an industry of the European Union? Does he celebrate with me the German investment through BMW and VW at Crewe with Bentley Motors and with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, the enormous improvement of the product and the increase in the number of jobs?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: I very much welcome the news that came through today that Bentley will consolidate its W12 engine production in Crewe. This will secure 100 new jobs, which will help families and give them greater security to look ahead to their future.

Lord Naseby (Con): Is my noble friend aware that, as far as the high-powered Formula 1 area is concerned, within Northamptonshire there must be something like 25 or 30 high-tech companies contributing to the development of the automotive industry? I will make one comment on what is still missing. Is my noble friend aware that the Queen’s Award for Enterprise needs to be revitalised to recognise all the exciting work coming out of these creative industrial engineering companies?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: Certainly that is something that we are looking at. As my noble friend Lord Borwick said, the Midlands is a centre of excellence for the automotive industry, focusing on companies such as JLR and Dunlop—the list is almost endless.

Health: Local Healthwatch Funding

Question

3.14 pm

Asked by Lord Harris of Haringey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report from Healthwatch England that £10 million of the £43.5 million allocated for local Healthwatch in 2013–14 has not been used for its intended purpose.

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Government have made no assessment. We welcome transparency in funding for local Healthwatch—something we called for in response to the Francis inquiry report—and Healthwatch England’s findings are a helpful contribution to that. We remain of the view that local authorities are best placed to decide local funding arrangements based on local needs and priorities, which is why the funding made available to them is not ring-fenced for a specific purpose.

Lord Harris of Haringey (Lab): So the noble Earl is telling the House that £10 million—almost a quarter of the money that his department allocated for local Healthwatch—has disappeared midway through the Department for Communities and Local Government to local government and not reached local Healthwatch. Was that not predictable and predicted? Why do the Government not now recognise that providing a local voice for the users of the health service is critical to the development of the health service and ensure that the funds are channelled through Healthwatch England for it to commission local services? If they cannot do that because it would require legislation, perhaps the Government could publish an indicative statement of what each local authority ought to be spending on local Healthwatch.

Earl Howe: My Lords, I would say that it is not the role of the Government to dictate what local authorities should be doing. It is up to local authorities to make judgments about what are the needs and priorities of their areas. I would also say that there cannot really be any direct comparison between the money made available by central government and the funding provided to local Healthwatch. It is not the case that £10 million has somehow disappeared. It is, rather, that councils have made local funding decisions which mean that £33.5 million was invested in local Healthwatch last year. What matters here is the transparency. That is what we very much welcome. It enables local Healthwatch to hold local authorities to account for their funding decisions and thereby, perhaps, influence them to give them a bit more money if that is required.

Baroness Brinton (LD): My Lords, in the light of the Minister’s response, what assessment have the Government made of the extent to which local authorities are meeting those needs?

Earl Howe: My Lords, we will not have a comprehensive picture of the impact that local Healthwatch has made until it publishes its annual reports later in the year. At the moment, we have anecdotal reports of some considerable successes around the country, but until we have those annual reports, it would be premature for me to make a general comment.

Baroness Pitkeathley (Lab): My Lords, it is surely disingenuous to think that local Healthwatch can properly represent the interests of patients—the Government made very strong commitments about that during the passage of recent health Bills—when it is being starved

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of cash. What discussions have been taking place between the Department of Health and the Department for Communities and Local Government to ensure that the money gets to the right place?

Earl Howe: I simply say to the noble Baroness that it is too soon to say whether local Healthwatch has been starved of cash. What matters most to local communities is the difference that their local Healthwatch is making, such as rooting out poor practice, ensuring that the views of local communities are heard in inspections and helping to improve local services. It is only after a period of time that we can make the relevant judgments. I can tell the noble Baroness that Healthwatch England is playing the role that it was designed to do: overseeing and supporting local Healthwatch where necessary.

Baroness Masham of Ilton (CB): My Lords, does not the Minister agree that this is an example of where money should be ring-fenced? The people who work for Healthwatch are volunteers. They should not be out of pocket and they need their expenses for travel.

Earl Howe: I agree with the noble Baroness that, in the normal course of events, expenses should be reimbursed, but I say again that it is not the role of Ministers to second-guess the judgments of local authorities. We believe in local autonomy. There are plenty of other ways in which many local authorities are supporting voluntary groups in their areas apart from Healthwatch, and making a difference in that way.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Lab): My Lords, I refer noble Lords to my health interests. I can hardly believe what I am hearing. Of course I understand why the noble Earl’s department does not want to tell local authorities what to do, but surely this is a question of upholding propriety in the use of public money. His department allocated more than £43 million to the DCLG to distribute to local authorities for Healthwatch. Somewhere along the line, either in the DCLG or in local authorities, someone has nicked £10 million. Does the department not want its money back?

Earl Howe: I do not believe that anybody has nicked £10 million, my Lords. The issue here is the one raised by the noble Lord, Lord Harris, and others: the absence of ring-fencing should not be seen as something negative. It has enabled councils to take a strategic approach to allocating their resources, in line with local needs and priorities. It has given them freedom to deploy their resources across the piece to achieve value for money. It is now, as I said earlier, up to local communities, but also local Healthwatch itself, to hold their local authority to account and thereby to demonstrate the impact that they are having, and make the case for more money if they feel that they merit it.

Baroness Hussein-Ece (LD): My Lords, the Minister said that this was about transparency, which of course it is. However, is it not also about consistency? There must be regions, boroughs or councils that are not using the money that has been allocated, which is

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surely to the detriment of the local community and to patients there. Surely we need to know where that money is not being spent and where patients and users of the health service are being sold short.

Earl Howe: We do need to know if people are being sold short. I would say to my noble friend that that is one of the reasons why local Healthwatch has a seat at the table of the health and well-being board, where it is eminently able to make its voice heard if it feels that it does not have sufficient resources to do the job which local authorities are legally obliged to commission.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham (Lab): My Lords, can we therefore have an assurance from the Minister that if local authorities do not spend all the money allocated on Healthwatch, they will not find their funding for Healthwatch proportionately reduced next year?

Earl Howe: I can give that assurance. We have allocated a fixed sum of £43.5 million for next year, and that will be paid.

Trade: Import Substitution

Question

3.22 pm

Asked by Lord Vinson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to correct the United Kingdom’s trade imbalance, and in particular with the European Union, by encouraging import substitution with a view to repatriating those jobs currently created overseas.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): Trade and investment are essential to returning the UK economy to balanced and sustainable growth. This Government have focused efforts on creating an attractive business environment in the UK, increasing support for UK firms to grow through exporting and introducing a new service supporting UK businesses to bring jobs back to the UK. Our actions will help UK businesses to compete across the globe, including in Europe and the high-growth market.

Lord Vinson (Con): I thank the Minister for his very sagacious reply. Does he agree that, as mentioned in today’s Budget, we cannot go on borrowing abroad indefinitely to fund our huge trade imbalances, not least our £88 billion deficit with the EU last year? Currently, our exports are made even less competitive by an ever rising pound which then subsidises the import of goods, many of which we could perfectly well make here at home. Does he agree that, as a trading nation, we cannot ignore our exchange rate and that, by getting this down, we would bring home hundreds of thousands of jobs that our borrowings are creating overseas, reduce our indebtedness and help exports? Is this not a virtuous circle to be recommended as the best way of reducing unemployment and balancing our books?

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Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Government recognise the scale of the trade deficit as a problem that only a substantial expansion in exports will fix. Building upon the work of my noble friend Lord Green, my noble friend Lord Livingston has refreshed UKTI strategy to focus on helping more medium-sized companies into overseas markets, thereby delivering up to £50 billion-worth to the economy.

Lord Bilimoria (CB): My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Harrison, mentioned Bentley, which is now moving the manufacture of all its 12-cylinder engines from Germany to the UK. Is that not marvellous news? In declaring my interest in my own business, we used to manufacture the vast majority in Europe and then reshored because Burton-on-Trent is capable of producing the best beer in the world. The Chancellor mentioned manufacturing in great positive terms in his speech today. What are the Government specifically doing to encourage manufacturing in this country that will help reshoring and help our exports?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: Manufacturing remains the most important part of what we do in the UK. UKTI has joined forces with the Manufacturing Advisory Service to relaunch Reshore UK, which will be a new, one-stop-shop service to help companies bring production back to the UK. This will give greater reassurance to hard-working people that there is increasing job security and a better plan for them to make for their families for the future.

Lord Barnett (Lab): My Lords, do the Government have a case that the Minister could tell the noble Lord, Lord Vinson, about for substituting more expensive and worthless UK products for good cheap products that are coming in?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: It is fair to say that imports are also important for the UK. It is not just exports. The balance has to be right.

Lord Taverne (LD): My Lords, is not the best contribution that the Government could make towards improving the trade balance a firm commitment to the single market and a policy of strongly supporting the completion of the single market as a committed member of the European Union?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: My Lords, the Government could not be clearer that membership of the EU is in the UK’s interest. We will continue to make that case vigorously as we progress with our proposals for reforming the EU. We recognise that the EU supports UK jobs, prosperity and growth through increased trade and investment both inside the single market and through free trade agreements.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch (UKIP): My Lords, is it not true that, according to the ONS, only 12% of our GDP goes in trade with clients in the European Union and that is declining and in deficit, 14% goes to the rest of the world and that is increasing and in surplus, and the remaining 88% stays right here in the domestic economy? Is not the answer to this perfectly obvious?

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Viscount Younger of Leckie: My Lords, I was not intending to be drawn into a discussion on Europe, but the House will like to be reminded that an estimated 3.5 million jobs—some one in 10—are linked to, but not dependent on, trade with the EU. Since the single market came into being, our trade with Europe has tripled. Some 45% of UK exports currently go to the EU, so it remains a most important market.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Con): My Lords, does my noble friend agree that the measures on energy and on support for investment and manufacturing announced in today’s Budget will improve the competitiveness of our industries and therefore encourage import substitution and improve the trade balance?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: Yes, indeed. The announcement that has been made today will very much help the trade balance, and exports, which I have mentioned already on this Question and on the previous PQ, will benefit.

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (Lab): My Lords, the Government will be aware from the recent CRESC report that the UK pigmeat supply chain is in crisis. The national pig herd has declined by around 50% and the UK has gone from 80% self-sufficiency in bacon sandwiches to less than 50%. Would the noble Lord the Minister—sorry, the sagacious noble Lord the Minister—agree with me that the Government need to take action urgently to encourage the horizontal integration of producers, to support the creation of farm co-operatives and to provide assistance with marketing?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The decisions that we are taking, particularly in the light of today’s Budget, will lead to a better climate and to more jobs being created and greater security in that sector.

Lord Tebbit (Con): My Lords, is it not true that the European Union’s policies on increasing the cost of energy and, of course, widening fuel poverty are also driving chemical engineering firms out of Europe and out of Britain and will cause a grave loss of jobs? Can we not just tell them that we do not wish those policies to apply here?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: My Lords, I have already given my views on Europe. In terms of energy, as the House will be aware, we are continuing to develop some energy-friendly policies, particularly focusing on the automotive sector.

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Lab): My Lords, will the Minister clarify for the sake of all of us—because we are really quite confused—whether he agrees with his noble friend, the noble Lord, Lord Taverne, or with the fanatics from the United Kingdom Independence Party?

Viscount Younger of Leckie: I have said as much as I need to on that issue.

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Employment: Universal Jobmatch

Question

3.30 pm

Asked by Lord Dubs

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are their plans for the Universal Jobmatch website.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): As I stated last week, our plans are to continue to make improvements to the Universal Jobmatch site based on feedback from employers, jobseekers and staff.

Lord Dubs (Lab): My Lords, is the Minister not just a bit embarrassed that the official government job website has about a third of a million bogus jobs on it, such as “MI6 target elimination specialist” or “International courier for CosaNostra Holdings”? If the Government are anxious to tackle fraud, should they not put their house in order immediately?

Lord Freud: My Lords, there is a great deal of confusion around this. I am pleased to be able to straighten it out, because there has been a lot of misrepresentation. There is a small amount of fraud on the site, as there is on other sites. It is less than one in 1,000. We clear them off. This is a hugely successful site. It has more than 500,000 employers on it and nearly 6 million job searches a day. It has transformed the service of getting people back into work, which is of course now at record levels.

Lord German (LD): My Lords, despite the extremely good news today of the trend once more being employment up and unemployment down, there will always be a need for a website of this sort which matches the jobseekers with the job vacancies—and not just Mafia couriers. Can my noble friend tell us whether the security issues around this site are the responsibility of the aptly named Monster Worldwide Inc, which runs it on behalf of the Government? Can he also tell us, under his commitment under his department’s privacy policy, what security measures he has taken to avoid people’s personal details being circulated widely to those who should not have them?

Lord Freud: My Lords, we take security very seriously. One of the reasons that there is a difference between the standard Monster site and that run by the state is exactly to make sure that there is security in our site. We work closely with Monster on that. People have to be careful with their information on the site, as for anywhere else on the internet. We make sure that there is proper support for people and instruction on how to keep their information safe.

Baroness Sherlock (Lab): My Lords, when I asked a Question on this subject last week, the Minister was very reassuring. He told the House that:

“Universal Jobmatch has revolutionised the service of Jobcentre Plus. It is a transformative service”.—[Official Report, 11/3/14; col. 1673.]

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He added that, of 500,000 employers, only 179 had been looked at for breach of conditions. However, this week the Daily Mail reported that, at the beginning of March, 125,000 jobs—a fifth of the total—were taken off the site. The Guardian reported that, in fact, the department was going to scrap the site in 18 months because there were so many problems.

I invite the Minister to reconsider the answer he gave to me then. Did he know then that the Universal Jobmatch website had so many problems? If so, why was he so reassuring? If he did not know, why did he not know?

Lord Freud: My Lords, I am pleased to say that I do know and can reconfirm what I said last week; I can actually amplify it. We are currently investigating about 17 sites for potentially being in breach of our terms and conditions. That does not mean that they are fraudulent; it just means that they may have mistakes in them, they may be duplicates, they may be from job boards, or there may not be a contract with the end user. That is what we mean by being not in compliance with our terms and conditions.

Universal Jobmatch is a very successful system. We are working closely with Monster and the contract runs to 2016. To the extent that there may be some misunderstanding and misrepresentation, the phrase “extend a contract” has a precise meaning: that you run a contract to a certain point, and do not go on extending but renew. We have a policy to work closely with Monster right up to 2016.

Lord Dobbs (Con): Will my noble friend clear up some confusion? Every Labour Government there have ever been have promised to reduce unemployment —of course, because they believe in doing it. Yet every Labour Government there have ever been, from Ramsay MacDonald through Clement Attlee—if my noble friend will forgive me—Wilson, Callaghan and of course Blair and Brown, have left office with unemployment higher than when they came in. Does my noble friend think that there is anything on the website that might explain why that is?

Lord Freud: My Lords, to run a successful economy you need to make sure that you do not run it into the ground. I am very pleased to say that with today’s figures the employment rate, if you exclude full-time students, is now running at the same high level it peaked at before the crash. Therefore we have managed to put the right structural changes in place to get employment up to as high a level as it has ever been.

Baroness Lister of Burtersett (Lab): My Lords, Stephen O’Donnell, who runs the National Online Recruitment Awards, said:

“I think it’s criminally unfair to sanction jobseekers for not using such a clumsily built website, rife with spammers … identity thieves and anonymous job ads”.

Will the Minister give a firm assurance that no jobseeker will be sanctioned for failing to use that hopeless website?

Lord Freud: My Lords, I make absolutely clear that it is not a hopeless website; it has been hugely misrepresented. Noble Lords in this House would not take criticism from a competitor interest quite as

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seriously as criticism from more disinterested sources. However, I can assure the noble Baroness that to the extent that anyone is sanctioned, that sanction does not stand. At the moment we are down to a vanishingly small number.

Tax Credits (Late Appeals) Order 2014

Guardian’s Allowance Up-rating Order 2014

Guardian’s Allowance Up-rating (Northern Ireland) Order 2014

Tax Credits Up-rating Regulations 2014

Motions to Approve

3.37 pm

Moved by Lord Newby

That the draft orders and regulations laid before the House on 12 February be approved.

Relevant documents: 22nd Report from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, considered in Grand Committee on 17 March.

Motions agreed.

Electricity and Gas (Energy Companies Obligation) (Amendment) Order 2014

Renewables Obligation (Amendment) Order 2014

Motions to Approve

3.38 pm

Moved by Baroness Verma

That the draft orders laid before the House on 6 and 10 February be approved.

Relevant documents: 22nd Report from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, 34th Report from the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, considered in Grand Committee on 17 March.

Motions agreed.

Immigration Bill

Committee (6th Day)

3.38 pm

Relevant documents: 22nd Report from the Delegated Powers Committee, 8th and 12th Reports from the Joint Committee on Human Rights, and 6th Report from the Constitution Committee.

Clause 62: Fees

Amendment 79F

Moved by Baroness Smith of Basildon

79F: Clause 62, page 50, line 3, at end insert—

“( ) Any power of the Secretary of State to make regulations under this section is exercisable by statutory instrument, not to be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.”

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Baroness Smith of Basildon (Lab): My Lords, I hope it is nothing I am about to say that is encouraging a mass exodus from the Chamber at this point.

We now come to a group of amendments that deal mainly with the transitional and consequential provisions. Our amendments come from some of the recommendations of the 22nd report of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, and I turn to them first. Amendment 79F comes from a recommendation of the committee. Clause 62 deals with fees to be charged in connection with immigration and nationality. This would provide for any order made under this clause to be subject to the affirmative procedure. It is a probing amendment to draw the House’s attention to the committee’s remarks and seek information from the Minister.

The provisions in the clause replace the existing provisions in Section 51 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. However, as the committee points out, the structure of the new provisions is different. For absolute clarity, I shall quote from the committee, which states:

“Under section 51, the matters in respect of which fees may be charged are required to be set out in an affirmative order with the amount of a fee to be specified in regulations. Fees regulations under section 51 are subject to the negative procedure unless the amount specified exceeds the cost of the service to which it relates, in which case it is subject to the affirmative procedure. Under clause 62, the matters in respect of which fees are to be charged must still be specified in an order subject to the affirmative procedure and the amount or rate of the fee would also still be specified in regulations. But, those regulations would in all cases be subject to the negative procedure even where the amount or rate of the fee exceeds the costs of provision. However there is a significant difference in that under clause 62 the affirmative order is required to specify how the fee is to be calculated and the maximum amount or rate of the fee that may be specified in the regulations”.

The report continues:

“The Home Office argues in its memorandum that it is appropriate for fees regulations under clause 62 to be subject to the negative procedure where the amount or rate exceeds that required to meet the cost of provision, because the upper limit for the fee will have been specified in the affirmative order under clause 62”.

Although the committee agreed with the Government’s reasoning, it wanted to,

“draw these provisions to the attention of the House because … this represents a reduction in the level of the parliamentary scrutiny applied to immigration and nationality fees where the amount of the fee exceeds the cost of provision”.

Can the Minister put the Government’s reason for this clause on the record, and expand on it, because I am not 100% clear on the reason? The Minister has been very clear when he has spoken in debates about his commitment to scrutiny, so I am sure that he will understand the concerns about any reduction in scrutiny on such issues.

Clause 66 deals with transitional and consequential provisions. Subsection (2) confers power on the Secretary of State by order to,

“make such provision as the Secretary of State considers appropriate in consequence of”,

the Bill, while subsection (3) provides,

“an order under subsection (2) includes provision amending, repealing or revoking any enactment”.

Our Amendment 81B would leave out subsection (3). Once again, it is a probing amendment and emanates from the report of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory

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Reform Committee report, which said—and I share its concerns—that the wording of subsection (3) is very wide. It said that it is,

“not explicit as to whether it is limited to a power to amend an enactment passed or made before or in the same Session as that in which the Bill is enacted, whether it includes a power to amend an enactment passed or made after that, or indeed whether it includes a power to amend an enactment contained in the Bill itself”.

The Government responded to the committee saying that it was,

“not intended to extend to a power to amend future legislation”,

and that the reference to any enactment cannot be read as applying to the Bill itself. I seek clarity on that, because the Minister said that the Government were considering amending subsection (3) to extend the power to amend the provision of the enactment passed after the Bill but in the same Session.

I am grateful to the Minister for sharing that letter with us. Our reason for tabling the amendment is to get the Government’s rationale on record. Has he considered the committee’s recommendation that this be made explicit in the Bill? Is he intending to bring anything forward? The Government said that they thought that it was clear and the committee said that it did not think that it was. If the Government are considering an amendment, surely now would be the time to bring it forward, given that the issue has been raised already. I am curious as to whether the Minister thinks that an amendment should be brought forward and if he is considering doing so at a later date. It is clarity that I am seeking there.

3.45 pm

The other point on which I seek clarity concerns transitional arrangements under the Bill generally. What transitional arrangements does the Minister expect to make under this clause? He will recall that I raised this point in a previous debate in relation to Clauses 33 and 34 on access to health services. I asked the noble Lord whether he could help me understand the position of someone who was in this country legally, had not paid the visa levy but would do so once the visa became subject to renewal. Given that they are in the country legally, I assume that they are still entitled to healthcare even though they will pay the surcharge when they have to renew their visa.

I understand the policy behind this measure but do not quite understand how it will work in practice. How will doctors and hospitals be made aware of the fact that these people are not required to pay the charge, even though they have not paid the surcharge? These people are here legally and will pay the surcharge if they renew their visa, but how will the persons themselves know that the charge does not apply to them? There is a lack of clarity about how National Health Service staff will know whether or not to charge somebody and who is eligible in those circumstances.

When I raised this point before, the noble Lord did not really answer my question. He made clear what the position and the policy were and said that the payment would be required only if people were making a new application or were new applicants. I understand the policy but I cannot work out how it will be implemented. I think that when the noble Lord responded to me there was confusion about transitional provisions in

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the Bill, and transitional arrangements to ensure that the Bill can be implemented. That is the part I am trying to get to the bottom of—how will these provisions work in real life? If the noble Lord can clarify that in the light of any transitional arrangements to be made, I would find that helpful. If it is not clear how this policy will work in practice—it is not yet clear to me and may not be clear to other noble Lords—new transitional provisions may have to be inserted in the Bill to clarify that. If the noble Lord can enlighten me on that issue now, it would avoid my having to bring forward a further amendment on Report to seek clarity. I may not have been 100% clear when I spoke on this issue previously, and perhaps that is why the noble Lord did not answer my question fully at the time, but I hope that he can do so now.

Obviously, I cannot speak to amendments in the group in the names of other noble Lords, but the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, has tabled a number of interesting amendments on the technical operation of the Bill. I look forward to hearing what is said on those amendments, and the Minister’s response to them, because at this stage of the Bill the thing we seek most is clarity in regard to its implementation. I beg to move.

Lord Avebury (LD): My Lords, my noble friend Lady Hamwee and I have several amendments in this group, the first of which is Amendment 82A. I am not quite sure why that provision appears in Schedule 9 at all as it does not appear to be consequential on anything elsewhere in the Bill, and nor is it transitional.

We would also like to know why the Secretary of State thinks it necessary to have this sweeping power to revoke a person’s indefinite leave to remain, if it was obtained by deception, without considering the proportionality of the action. Section 76 of the British Nationality Act, which it is sought to amend, already contains a power to revoke a person’s ILR if it was obtained by deception, and if the person concerned would be liable to deportation because of the deception but cannot be removed. It is these latter qualifications that we seek to delete since otherwise the power would apply to any ILR obtained by deception whatever the circumstances. The qualifications mean that the deception has to be of a nature serious enough to justify deportation, and we think that provision ought to be retained. This means, for example, that the person must have known that deception was used to obtain his ILR and that consideration must be given to the length of time that he has been in the UK and to any family ties that he may have in this country.

Amendment 87ZG would retain Section 87 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, which allows a tribunal judge to give directions following a successful appeal. Again, it is a mystery to us as to how this provision finds itself in a part of the Bill headed, “Transitional and consequential provision”, when neither of those adjectives apply. I should like the Minister to say that all the paragraphs of Schedule 9 referring to other Acts will be repositioned before Report.

As long as there are successful appeals—as there will be, however much the Government try to minimise them by removing legal aid and tightening up the Immigration Rules—judges ought to have these powers. Directions commonly require the Home Office to do

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something within a particular time or take specific steps—for example, to bring a person back within the jurisdiction. There is a special place for directions when a successful appeal is brought against deprivation of nationality. When a person wins such an appeal, it surely ought not to be within the Secretary of State’s discretion as to whether that person’s citizenship is restored. Yet that would be the position if this amendment is not accepted. As the law stands, the judge could order the Secretary of State not only to restore the person’s citizenship but to backdate the restoration to the date of the unlawful deprivation. This could be important, for example, when a child is born to the person during the period of their deprivation and the child forfeits their own British citizenship as a result.

Amendment 87ZH retains the definition in Section 113 on interpretation in the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. There is a reference to varying leave to enter or remain but it does not include a reference to adding, varying or revoking a condition of leave. This amendment is designed to give the Minister an opportunity to explain to the Committee why it was considered necessary or appropriate to widen the scope of these definitions.

Finally, Amendment 87ZJ deals with the notice that the Secretary of State may serve on a person, P, who has made a protection of human rights claim or an application to enter or remain in the UK, or in respect of whom a decision to deport him has been or may be taken. In addition to the specified information that the notice may require P to provide, we proposed to add the words in the amendment, which would deal with any change in his circumstances to which new subsection (5) would apply. The requirement of that new subsection, whereby if P’s circumstances have changed he must immediately spell out those changes to the Secretary of State and inform her of the additional reasons or grounds on which he should be permitted to enter or remain in the UK, or should not be moved from or required to leave the UK, is unreasonably onerous. It should be borne in mind that P will probably be unrepresented, given the removal of legal aid for immigration cases, other than asylum. How on earth is P supposed to know that such a statement is required? If he does know because it was explained and given in writing to him when the first notice was served, or even because notice is given and received in accordance with this amendment, will the Minister not concede that it is terribly unrealistic to expect P to identify and articulate those grounds, there being no properly resourced system of advice and representation for the person who is subject to immigration control? There will inevitably be requirements that he is unable to comply with, and this is certainly one of them.

By virtue of the test for legal aid, an applicant, including a child, must have been lawfully resident in the UK for 12 months. Persons who are accepted as having been trafficked are eligible for legal aid for their immigration case but not for judicial review. The same applies to victims of domestic violence. Does my noble friend really consider that people in these situations will be able to provide the supplementary statement required in new Section 120(5), or will he concede that it is nothing but a trap to be used against them?

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Baroness Hamwee (LD): My Lords, first, I think that my noble friend has informed the Minister that we will not be speaking to Amendment 87ZD. We realise that we have made an error in it, for which I apologise to the Committee.

The last amendment in this group, Amendment 87ZJ, is also an amendment to Schedule 9—the part dealing with the grounds for an application. P—the person to whom my noble friend referred—is required to provide a supplementary statement to the Secretary of State or immigration officer setting out new circumstances and additional reasons or grounds, where there are any, as soon as practicable. My amendment would add to an earlier paragraph a requirement for P to inform the Secretary of State of the change in circumstances in order that he is made aware of the need to do so. As my noble friend said, he will probably have no assistance in this, so we are suggesting that the Secretary of State should include this in the notice served on P.

The first of the amendments in the name of the noble Baroness had me looking at Clause 62 this morning. On Monday, the Minister said that he believed in scrutiny. I do, too. I also believe in getting answers to questions on the record. I will whip through my questions quickly and hope that he will be able to whip through his answers quickly, but they are points about which, when fees are being set, I think practitioners as well as parliamentarians will be concerned.

I read the term “specified fee”—which is used, among other places, in Clause 62(7)—as meaning that the Secretary of State will make an order specifying categories of fees which will then be set by regulations. If that is so, can my noble friend indicate the criteria for making some categories subject to an order and some to regulations?

I went on to see in Clause 62(2) that there seems to be a requirement for a fees order for all fees—or are fees to be chargeable outside the functions within subsection (2)? Does “any specified fee” in Clause 62(4) mean each fee specified by a fees order? In that subsection and in subsection (6), which deal with the factors that might apply in setting fees, what factors might there be other than an hourly rate? The drafting suggests that they might be something similar to an hourly rate, but it would be helpful to understand what they might be.

Can the Minister confirm that in Clause 62(6) the rate is in fact an hourly rate? Can he tell the Committee whether—this is perhaps less technical but it is of considerable interest—a calculation that involves an hourly rate will give the position or grade of the officers for whom the rate is charged? Where a fee is intended to exceed the cost, because that is allowed for, will this be made clear in the Explanatory Memorandum to the regulations?

Clause 62(10) provides for exceptions. Can the Minister tell the Committee whether the exceptions might allow for an increase in a particular class of cases or individuals and how exceptions will be determined? I am interested in how Clause 62(10)(b) will work with Clause 62(8). I assume that subsection (10)(b) overrides subsection (8), which requires that a fee should not be less than a prescribed minimum. Why is Clause 62(10)(c), concerning failure to pay, needed? There is a provision relating to this in the next clause. The subsection refers to,

“the consequences of failure to pay a fee”.

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What might those be in addition to enforcement of the debt? Might this refer, for instance, to refusing a visa when a future application is made?

Clause 62(12) defines costs. Perhaps we could have an example of the costs that will be covered by a fee that is,

“not funded from public money”.

My imagination did not stretch that far. Finally, Clause 62(13) refers to “particular arrangements” and “particular ways”. Are these terms intended to cover services such as the premium fast-track service? I am grateful to the Committee for its indulgence and particularly grateful to the Minister for dealing with these issues.

4 pm

Lord Pannick (CB): My Lords, I share the concerns expressed by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, in relation to Clause 62. In particular, will the Minister give the Committee an assurance that there will be transparency as to what proportion of the fees will relate to,

“the costs of exercising the function”,

and what proportion will address other matters? It is very important that the public and both Houses of Parliament know the breakdown of the fees in that respect.

I am concerned also about Clause 66(3), which is the subject of the probing amendment in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Basildon, and relates to “Transitional and consequential provision”. I agree with the comments of the Delegated Powers Committee that it would be highly desirable to make clear in the Bill that this power is intended to cover only existing legislation and not to give a power to amend, repeal or revoke future enactments. I am sure that that cannot have been the intention but it is highly desirable that this should be clarified.

I do not think that there is any risk, which the Delegated Powers Committee was concerned about, that Clause 66(3) could be interpreted to allow for amendment of this legislation. As I understand it, it is linked to Clause 66(2). It allows an amendment to repeal or revoke,

“in consequence of this Act”.

It seems to me that to amend this legislation could not be in consequence of this Act. But if it is the Government’s intention to confer a power by Clause 66(3) to amend this legislation, please will the Minister say so.

Lord Ramsbotham (CB): My Lords, I beg the indulgence of the Committee if I raise a matter which may appear to be more relevant to an earlier part of the Immigration Bill that the House has already taken. I should like to ask the Minister at what stage either the Secretary of State or any other Minister in the Home Office became involved in the case of Alois Dvorzac, an 84 year-old Canadian who died in handcuffs at Harmondsworth detention centre? He was born in Slovenia and was on his way from Canada to Slovenia, in transit through Gatwick, when he was taken from Gatwick and put into Harmondsworth, where he died. He neither claimed United Kingdom nationality nor had it removed. Therefore, this seems to be something of which the United Kingdom should fairly be ashamed. At what stage did Home Office Ministers become involved in this tragic affair?

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Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Con): I rise to probe the Government’s intentions on fees following the questions that have been put by the noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Basildon, on Amendment 79F and in the other points raised. This is a useful consolidation of the rules and the powers on fees, but I have two questions that I hope my noble friend will be able to comment on. First, what are the Government’s plans for immigration and visa fees following the passage of this Bill? Secondly, will fees and future changes to fees be set out clearly on the government website which I hope the Government will establish so that, following the passage of this important Bill, everyone clearly understands the prevailing immigration and visa arrangements? Those are points about intention and about transparency.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): My Lords, noble Lords have asked me quite a number of questions and I will do my best to show a techie side to my nature. Where I slip up, perhaps noble Lords will allow me to write. I am aware of the case mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham. I will have to write to him because I cannot give him an authoritative answer on a point that is not directly to do with the amendments that we are considering today. In any event, I will make sure that I get a letter to him on that issue.

I will speak to Amendments 79F, 81B, 82A, 87ZG, 87ZH and 87ZJ, which have been grouped together. I will not mention Amendment 87ZD because that has not been spoken to.

Amendment 79F concerns fees. It fits slightly uneasily in this grouping, but I am sure that it is something that we want to address. The current legislative framework for setting and amending visa fees is slow and inflexible, and we are experiencing that at the moment. We had a statutory instrument in January, and later on next week we will debate the actual fee levels. This two-part process is not necessarily the most informative. It makes it difficult for the Home Office to respond to identified issues—and opportunities, because this is an important area of income generation for the Government.

For example, it does not allow us to introduce new premium services or amend fees up or down within a particular period. It has also been criticised in this House because the “menu” of immigration and visa services is debated separately from the prices of the things on the menu. As I have said, that seems a funny way of doing things. The fees measures in the Bill are meant to address both of those issues.

I say to the noble Lord, Lord Pannick—who queried transparency on this issue, as did my noble friend Lady Neville-Rolfe—that the whole point of this is to be more transparent and provide information on fees. The mandate to provide fees is an important thing to secure in Parliament. As I said, they are an important factor for the Home Office.

My noble friend Lady Hamwee made a number of technical points and I would like to thank her for advising me of them. The fees order will set out in relatively general terms the types of categories of fees that will be charged for. It will set the maximum and in some cases—although not all—the minimum levels for the fees that fall within each category. The order

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will be subject to the affirmative procedure. The regulations will then specify the precise fee for each product, which could stretch to several hundred different fees. This mirrors the current arrangements. For example, the current fees order states that we can charge for,

“a sponsor licence or renewal of such a licence”,

and the fees regulations specify all the different fees for each type of sponsor licence payable by the different categories of sponsor. Thus the detail included in the order and the regulations mirrors the current arrangements set out in Section 51 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 except in terms of the introduction of maximum, and in some cases minimum, fee levels into the order.

My noble friend went on to say that Clause 62(2) appears to require a fees order for all fees. She asked whether fees are chargeable outside of the specified functions. All chargeable functions must be set out in the fees order. The only caveat to normal treatment is set out in Clause 64:

“Power to charge fees for attendance services”.

She asked whether “any specified fee” under Clause 62(4) means each fee specified by a fees order. That is correct; it does. She assumed that Clause 62(10)(b) overrides subsection (8)(a)(ii), which requires a fee not to be less than the prescribed minimum, and that is correct. She also asked why subsection (10)(c) needed a failure to pay in the light of subsection (3). The consequences might mean the refusal of a visa in the future. Subsection (10)(b) relates to debt recovery in particular circumstances, such as where a payment is withdrawn once it has been processed and the application considered. Paragraph (c) ensures that we can provide that applications will not be considered if payment is not received. It also states that any other consequences for failing to pay must be set out in regulations. These provisions have been carried forward from current legislation.

My noble friend asked about costs and whether we can give an example of costs. Costs will be incurred by our commercial partners when, for example, providing visa services overseas, and they form part of the costs to the Home Office when providing services or processing applications. On Clause 62(13), she asked whether there are particular arrangements or ways to recover such things as the premium service. Yes, there are such arrangements. This subsection reflects that fees for the same function may vary depending on where and when they are delivered, and the specific service provided. It also reflects the fact that we may, in limited circumstances, charge different fees for the same product in different circumstances. We might, for example, enter into a reciprocal arrangement with another country by which we agree to offer a reduction in the visa fee to nationals of that country.

My noble friend put a question to me about Clause 62(4). This subsection is directed at the factors that the Secretary of State can consider in setting fees, taking into account costs and benefits to applicants. Subsections (4) and (6) are directed at the mechanics of the calculation, so that if the fee is being set out at a flat rate or by reference to an hourly rate, the reference to other factors is to give us flexibility in the future in

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order to charge, for example, with reference to a daily rate. My noble friend asked whether the rate is the hourly rate. Yes, it is, or there can be other factors. As I have just said, there can be a daily rate as set out above. I was also asked whether the calculation will involve an hourly rate to give the position/grade of the officers for whom a rate is charged. The grade of officers is not a relevant consideration when establishing an hourly rate. Where the grade of staff is relevant in establishing an estimated unit cost, it will form part of the calculation. This level of detail will not be set out in statutory instruments or a fees table.

My noble friend asked whether, where a fee is intended to exceed the cost, this will be made clear in the Explanatory Memorandum to the regulations. We will include the unit costs, as is currently the case. She asked whether the exceptions might allow for increases in a particular class of individuals. No, the exceptions relate to exemptions from payments; that is, waivers. The Home Office currently provides a number of exceptions in regard to fees including, for example, asylum applicants and children receiving local authority assistance, and there is no plan to withdraw the exceptions currently offered. This is complicated and I am sorry to have rattled it off but my noble friend did ask that I put it on the record. I hope the record has noted it and that I have reassured my noble friend.

4.15 pm

Setting out maximum—and in some cases minimum—fee levels in affirmative resolution orders will ensure that Parliament is able to consider the menu of services and pricing at the same time. Setting out fees in subsequent negative resolution regulations will increase speed and flexibility without removing Parliament’s right to set limits on fee levels, meaning that the Home Office will not have a blank cheque when setting immigration and visa fees. I have already reassured the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, and my noble friend Lady Neville-Rolfe that we intend to be transparent in this matter.

The proposed amendment would make all statutory instruments made under the fees measures in the Bill subject to the affirmative procedure, which would act like a double lock and take away the flexibility that the fees measures are meant to introduce. I hope the noble Baroness understands the thinking behind this. The Home Office’s ability to respond in the future to customer demand for new services or to government policy on economic growth should not be diminished in any way by these orders.

It would also mean that Parliament would debate the same thing—immigration fee levels—twice. The measures in the Bill require Parliament to debate and approve maximum fee levels for the services set out in a fees order. A further debate on specific fee levels within the regulations does not make sense. Either it will be unnecessary, because it will merely confirm the conclusion of an earlier debate, which would be the case where the fees in the regulations are approved, or it will be inappropriate, because it will overturn government policy and previous parliamentary approval, which would be the case where a fee in the regulations is rejected even though it is less than or equal to the approved maximum.

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I hope I have dealt satisfactorily with the fees situation, and will now move on to other matters, in particular Amendment 81B, which concerns the delegated power in the Bill to amend an enactment in consequence of the Bill. The noble Baroness, Lady Smith, spoke about this, and the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, also mentioned it. The matter was raised by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, and the Government have already responded to the committee.

Before I turn to that response, I first assure the House that Clause 66(3) is not intended to extend a power to amend future legislation. The Government consider this is sufficiently clear because no words of extension are used. If the intention had been to extend the power in this way, the clause would have used wording such as that in Section 89(1) of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 or Section 33 of the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013, both of which confer powers to amend an enactment “whenever passed or made”. The Government have said in their reply that they are considering whether to amend Clause 66(3) to extend the power so that it can also amend the provisions of an enactment passed after this Bill but in the same Session as the Bill, as for example with Section 99(2) of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. However, because this Bill is likely to be passed towards the end of the current Session, such a provision may be unnecessary. Although there are some technical points to follow on particular items of legislation, I will move on, but I will keep the noble Baroness informed of our decisions on this matter and whether we will bring forward an amendment. I will be happy to talk her through the provisions of any amendment at that time.

Turning to Amendment 82A, I should explain that Section 76(2) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 currently applies a power to revoke the leave of persons who have obtained indefinite leave by deception only where the person is non-removable. This is because, for those who are removable, the removal decision itself, under the current Section 10 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, automatically invalidates any leave that the person may have been given. As the legislation stands, there is no need for revocation to extend to removable persons.

However, the changes we are making in the new Section 10, as set out in Clause 1, mean that it does not have this same effect of invalidating extant leave. It simply allows us to remove a person who already has no leave to be in the UK. As a result, we need another mechanism for cancelling indefinite leave obtained by deception. It is therefore necessary to extend Section 76(2) so that revocation also applies to those who obtained leave by deception but are removable. This does not alter the current position that those who cannot be removed for legal or practical reasons may have their leave revoked, nor does it mean that we will be able to remove those persons who previously would have had their leave revoked because they could not be removed from the UK. I hope that has explained why this provision is in the Bill.

The noble Baroness talked about the transitional arrangements in respect of health charges. I am having some difficulty finding the exact part of the Bill to

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which she referred. We have discussed health charges. I am very happy to research the particular points that she made but I am not able to help her today, except to say that while the Home Office is responsible for collecting the health surcharge, the health service is the provider of the service and needs to satisfy itself that the records are in place that someone should not be charged. The computer program Spine, on which I have been briefed, is in place to provide that database.

I know that my noble friend Lord Howe is very keen to talk to noble Lords about the health service reforms, which are not part of the Bill but go closely with it, and the importance of health charging for the health service, which I think noble Lords will understand is an important facet. I hope we will be able to clear that up, and I will certainly write to the noble Baroness on the particular point that she raised.

Amendment 87ZG relates to the repeal of Section 87 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. The power of the tribunal to give directions, when an appeal succeeds, to give effect to its decision is repealed because the Bill means that the range of decisions that the tribunal can make will be much more limited and their consequences clearer, so will not need to be defined when the tribunal gives its decision.

Currently, someone can appeal against the refusal of a work visa and raise Article 8—family life—in their grounds of appeal. The tribunal could allow the appeal for one of three reasons: that the work visa application should have succeeded; that the appeal succeeds on Article 8 under the Immigration Rules; or that the appeal succeeds on Article 8 outside the Immigration Rules. It is this type of case in which a direction from the tribunal is needed to make clear the basis on which the Secretary of State should grant leave. However, appeals on a number of very different grounds will no longer take place owing to the changes to appeal rights in Clause 11. The outcome will be simpler and therefore a power for the tribunal to give a direction to the Secretary of State is no longer necessary. That is the reasoning behind this part of the Bill.

Amendment 87ZH would retain a definition of leave to enter or remain in Part 5 of the 2002 Act, which relates to appeals. This definition is no longer needed, as this Bill provides that there is no appeal right against refusal of leave to enter or remain.

Amendment 87ZJ would require the Secretary of State to specify the ongoing duty to notify her of changes of circumstance in a notice served under Section 120 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. I am happy to assure the Committee that we will make this duty clear to those affected, but the detailed contents of this notice are a matter of operational procedure and, as such, it is not appropriate to include this requirement in the Bill.

I was asked a couple of questions by my noble friend Lord Avebury. He made the point that many of the changes in Schedule 9 are not consequential but substantive and should be positioned in the body of the Bill. The changes in Schedule 9 relating to appeals are consequential for the reasons that I have explained. The changes made to appeals in Clause 11 mean that the changes in Schedule 9 are necessary and consequential.

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The noble Lord asked: if no direction can be given about how to implement a successful appeal against deprivation of nationality, how can it be implemented? The Secretary of State implements the judgment of the tribunal in accordance with law. Where a person has succeeded in appealing against the deprivation of nationality, the Secretary of State will implement that judgment. I am satisfied that the outcome of such an appeal is sufficiently self-explanatory that the tribunal does not need to give directions as to how effect should be given to it. This has been quite a long contribution from me, but I hope that it has helped noble Lords better to understand this section of the Bill.

Lord Avebury: Will the Minister deal with the question that I asked about the directions that the tribunal would formerly have been able to give regarding the restoration of citizenship and its backdating in cases where that was appropriate? Since the tribunal has lost its power, those directions can no longer be given.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: My Lords, I think that I will have to write to my noble friend if he wants an authoritative on answer on that. I have given the answer that I have before me, but if that does not meet the point that he has made—it is clear that it does not—I hope that my noble friend will allow me to write to him.

Lord Tyler (LD): Before my noble friend sits down, will he go just one step further on the issue raised by the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, and the case to which he referred, which seems on the face of it to be extremely serious if the facts as reported by Channel 4 last night are correct? Will he undertake to provide an answer and place it in the Library, and as soon as possible? I can see that, since the inquest has not taken place as yet, it would be all too easy for Ministers to hide behind that fact and not give us urgent advice on what seems to be a major problem with the way in which the immigration law is operating at present.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: I do not want to be difficult. This matter is clearly not associated with an amendment or even this part of the Bill, but I am sympathetic to the point that the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, and my noble friend Lord Tyler have made. I will do my best to inform the House on the facts of the matter as much as I am able. If matters are sub judice, it would be inappropriate for any Minister to interfere with due process. I hope that noble Lords will understand that. I am always prepared to answer either Oral Questions or Written Questions on any subject, but we are here to debate the Immigration Bill. It may interest the noble Lord to learn that I am going on a removal flight on Friday to Kosovo and Albania. I want to see what goes on. I share the noble Lord’s determination to make sure that things that are done in our name are done properly. I hope that with that reassurance my noble friend will understand why I do not want to give an answer at the Dispatch Box at the moment.

4.30 pm

Baroness Smith of Basildon: My Lords, I appreciate that that point is not part of the deliberations today on the Bill but it was appropriate for the noble Lord,

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Lord Ramsbotham, to address it given the concerns raised. I am glad the Minister has offered to place an answer in the Library if he is able to. I suggest if he is going on a removal flight that people do not know he is on there and he goes incognito. That is the best way to understand how these matters are carried out. I hope that is the case.

I turn to the amendments. On transitional provisions and arrangements regarding health, perhaps I should have been clearer. I apologise to the noble Lord if I was not. The reason for raising the matter here is that I am not clear from what he said in his previous responses when I raised this if any transitional provisions are required for the transitional arrangements. He referred to the arrangements between two departments—the Department of Health and the Home Office. Where I am confused and do not understand this is, as I said, in the real-life implications and workability. Will Home Office computers be able to talk to and share information with Department of Health computers?

My recollection as a government Minister of various meetings on Cabinet committees on this is that there must be some kind of process, agreement or even legislation to ensure that that happens. I am not clear if that has been agreed from what I have seen so far. It does not seem to be in the Bill and nobody is able to tell me how the process would work where, for example, somebody who has a visa and is in the country legally but has not paid the surcharge turns up for treatment. How will the health service know that they are legally in the country but just have not paid the surcharge? They came into the country and took their visa before the surcharge was in place. If that information can be provided only by sharing information between the computers of the two departments, how will that be done, have the arrangements been put in place and is legislation needed? If not, something will be needed in transitional provisions, presumably in this Bill, to undertake that. That is what I am trying to get to. I need to understand how it will work in practice.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: All I can say at the moment is that if that were needed in transition it would be in the Bill. I have been party to some of the discussions that have taken place. Indeed, it is intended that there should be an exchange of information between the two departments. If the noble Baroness does not know how that will happen, I hope I am in a position to inform her. This matter does not need legislation; it is one of good administration. My noble friend Lord Howe and I both share the determination that this should be properly done because it is important to make sure that the health service is not in any way impeded by measures that we enact in this Bill.

Baroness Smith of Basildon: My Lords, I do not for one moment question the determination of the noble Lord and the noble Earl, Lord Howe, to make this work but when we pass legislation we need to understand—as I said at the very beginning, at Second Reading—the evidence base for something being brought forward and the workability of it; that is, if what is sought can actually be achieved and the implications, including unintended consequences. I really want to understand

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this. If the noble Lord could undertake to write to me with further information about how this will work in practice that would be really helpful.

I raised two other points in speaking to my amendments. It was helpful to have the response on the record. I take it from what the Minister said that there probably will not be a government amendment coming forward on the points I raised on my second amendment, but if there was it would be helpful to have very early notice of that. I would have expected that today. On the other issue, he made the point on fees. This is a reduction in scrutiny. I understand the Government’s reasoning that under Clause 62 a higher level is set and it cannot go above that but in terms of setting the amount, specifically where the fee for the visa is higher than the cost of the provision, we experience a loss of scrutiny. That is now on the record and I am grateful to the noble Lord for accepting that, even though I understand the reasons. With that, I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment 79F withdrawn.

Clause 62 agreed.

Amendment 79G

Moved by Lord Avebury

79G: After Clause 62, insert the following new Clause—

“Legitimacy

(1) The British Nationality Act 1981 (c.16) is amended as follows.

(2) After section 4C (acquisition by registration: certain persons born between 1961 and 1983) insert—

“4D Acquisition by registration: legitimacy

(1) A person is entitled to be registered as a British citizen if—

(a) he applies for registration under this section; and

(b) he satisfies each of the following conditions.

(2) The first condition is that the person was born before 1st July 2006.

(3) The second condition is that the person is not already a British citizen.

(4) The third condition is that the father of the child satisfies any requirements as to proof of paternity prescribed under section 50(9B) of this Act (interpretation).

(5) The fourth condition is that the person would have been a British citizen had his father been married to his mother at the time of his birth.””

Lord Avebury: My Lords, we have made several attempts in previous legislation to remove the disadvantage which illegitimate children suffer compared to their legitimate siblings in citizenship law. Some children born to British fathers who are not married to their non-British mothers are still not entitled to inherit their father’s citizenship. Since 1983, that applies to a child born out of wedlock in the UK to a British father and a mother who is neither British nor settled in the UK—an anomaly that was only partially redressed by Section 9 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. That section restored the right of such a child to British citizenship if he or she was born on or after 1 July 2006, leaving an arbitrary gap of 23 years from the date in 1983 prior to which all children born in the UK automatically acquired British citizenship.

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The parents of such a child can apply to register him or her as a British citizen while he or she is still a minor, and the Home Office normally, but not invariably, exercises discretion in favour of those applications under Section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981, but once he or she reaches the age of 18 there is no provision that allows him or her to become British—an irrational barrier, because it relies on the parents being aware of the qualified right and acting on it in time. There are examples on record of parents who discover the 2006 change too late.

The proposed new clause would allow a child born to a British father who is not married to their mother, and for that reason alone not British, to register as a British citizen. It assists a child born abroad to a father who is British otherwise than by descent to become British himself, and deals with the gap between 1983 and 2006 for the child born out of wedlock to a British father and a woman who is not British or settled in the UK. That would enable us to withdraw our reservation to the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which declares in paragraph 2 of Article 9:

“States parties shall grant women equal rights with men with respect to the nationality of their children”.

The UK Government said that our acceptance of Article 9,

“shall not, how ever, be taken to invalidate the continuation of certain temporary or transitional provisions which will continue”,

beyond January 1983.

Discrimination in our citizenship has continued well beyond what might be considered temporary or transitional. Discrimination against women was corrected only by Section 4C of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2006, and discrimination against men has been corrected only for their children born after 1 July 2006. We now have the opportunity to put this last piece of the jigsaw in place so that we can ratify the convention and sign up to the European Convention on Nationality. I hope that your Lordships will therefore agree to the amendment.

Baroness Lister of Burtersett (Lab): My Lords, I am pleased to be able to support the amendment, although I was not able to put my name down to it fast enough. The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, has made the case for it very well. As I understand it, the Government accept the merits of the case and the substance of the amendment but, in the Public Bill Committee, questioned whether it lay within the scope of the Bill and suggested that there were better ways to take this forward. Presumably, as the amendment has been accepted by the Public Bill Office here, it is within the scope of the Bill.

I am not sure how many people are likely to be involved—perhaps the Minister could give us an estimate. As the Government said about Clause 60, it is the principle, not the number, that matters here. Even if it is only a handful, it matters to those people. I hope that the Minister will be able to come back with an amendment at Report to rectify what is clearly an unfair and anomalous piece of discrimination, based on the outmoded status of illegitimacy—indeed, what I would call an illegitimate status.

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Baroness Smith of Basildon: My Lords, this is an interesting and useful amendment that the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, has brought before us. If the only objection from the Government in the other place was that they thought it was out of scope and that it could not be brought forward, it is clearly no longer out of scope as it has been brought forward. I hope that the Minister might take the advice of my noble friend and that, if the Government are not able to accept this amendment or bring it back, they will explain why. I really hope that there can be a positive resolution to this.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Avebury for raising this matter and to the noble Baronesses, Lady Lister of Burtersett and Lady Smith of Basildon, for supporting it because we are well aware of the issues faced in acquiring British citizenship by those whose parents never married. We agree that this is an anomaly which deserves to be addressed. Having understood that nationality matters were outside the scope of the Bill, we were considering whether a measure covering this could be drafted as a government handout Bill for the next Session. I understand that had this amendment been tabled in another place, it would indeed have been ruled out of scope. However, this House has different rules on relevance and therefore it is appropriate for us to debate the matter.

I say to the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, that while I cannot give her any numbers, she is quite right that this is not about numbers but about whether to do it or not. That is the position the Government are coming from.

As my noble friend Lord Avebury pointed out, the law changed on 1 July 2006 to enable British citizen fathers to pass on their citizenship to a child where the parents were not married. This was not made retrospective, however, because it could have created difficulties for those affected in relation to any other citizenships that they held. For example, some countries do not allow dual nationality, as some noble Lords will know. Since 1987, the Secretary of State has exercised discretion in relation to those born to an illegitimate father. Discretion is exercised under Section 3(1) of the 1981 Act to enable the registration of children born before 1 July 2006 who are the illegitimate children of British citizens or settled fathers. Registration can take place if the Home Secretary is satisfied about the paternity of the child, if all those with parental responsibility have consented, if the good character requirement is met and, had the child been born to the father legitimately, if he or she would have had an automatic claim to British citizenship or an entitlement to registration.

However, this exercise of discretion under Section 3(1) applies only to those who are minors at the date of the application for British citizenship. There is no power in law to register as a British citizen a person who was born illegitimately to a British citizen father before 2006 and who is now an adult. We accept that this creates a lacuna and that those who were born illegitimately to British citizen fathers are at a disadvantage compared with those whose parents were married.

I cannot accept my noble friend’s amendment as currently drafted because while this provision covers any person who would have been a British citizen had

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his parents been married, we think that it should be set out clearly exactly who should benefit from such a change in the law. In addition, other matters would need to be considered such as good character, which persons registered under this provision should be British citizens by descent and what additional measures should be included for those who might apply when under the age of 18. These are technical matters which need to be considered in amending the legislation. I am afraid that I must resist the amendment as it stands but I am happy to commit to taking it away, with a view to considering urgently whether the Government could prepare a suitable amendment for tabling at Report. I hope that amendment would have the support of the House, should it come back, and I therefore ask my noble friend to withdraw his amendment and its proposed new clause.

4.45 pm

Lord Avebury: I am most grateful to the noble Baronesses, Lady Lister and Lady Smith, and particularly to the Minister for his extremely accommodating reply and his undertaking to consider this proposal as a matter of urgency in the hope that something can be produced to be tabled on Report.

As to scope, I was not in doubt: if the Secretary of State could include provisions in the Bill regarding deprivation of citizenship, surely it was proper to allow acquisition of citizenship also to be within scope. That is implicitly conceded if the Minister can produce an amendment by Report that will match the aspirations of the amendment I have moved.

I never expect an amendment that I have drafted to be accepted on the spot by the Minister—that does not happen in real life—but the answer he has given is extremely satisfactory, and I am most grateful to him for the careful consideration he has given to this proposal. Accordingly, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 79G withdrawn.

Clauses 63 and 64 agreed.

Amendment 80 not moved.


Amendment 81

Moved by The Earl of Listowel

81: After Clause 64, insert the following new Clause—

“Welfare of children: asylum seekers

(1) Schedule 3 to the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (withholding and withdrawal of support) is amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph 6(1), after “person” insert “who entered the United Kingdom as an adult”.

(3) In paragraph 7, after “person” insert “who entered the United Kingdom as an adult”.”

The Earl of Listowel (CB): I shall speak to Amendment 81, which stands in my name and that of the noble Lord, Lord Storey, and, in doing so, support Amendment 81A.

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The effect of our amendment would be to take children who arrive in this country out of Schedule 3 to the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, “Withholding and Withdrawal of Support”, so that if they arrive in this country as children and reach the age of 18, they will not have all support withdrawn from them. As vice-chair of the APPG on children and young people in care and leaving care, I am particularly concerned as many of these young people are care-leavers and would not receive the support that I see other young people leaving care getting. I am also concerned that, through a technical detail, I think, in effect some of these young people are treated more harshly than adults in these processes. Whereas adults can have support withdrawn from them only once they have received removal instructions, some young people leaving care who have arrived in this country as asylum-seeking children can have support removed before they receive their removal instructions.

Noble Lords might like to know what kind of young people these are. For instance, a young man I met had come from Afghanistan. He had taken photographs of a solider or soldiers who had been hitting a woman with a rifle. The soldier or soldiers concerned did not like that and started to take an interest in him and his family. That was the reason that he gave for coming to this country. I played chess with a young man of my acquaintance over a period of nine months several years ago. He was a Kosovan Albanian. His father was a teacher. He was a very well turned-out young man who took great care of himself. He was very well spoken and very polite and considerate. Those are the kinds of young people that I have come across.

I know that some of these young people will have come through camps at some point in their life. My experience of that has been visiting one of these camps in Angola several years ago, which was very densely populated by adults and families. There had been no planning involved: the camp had simply grown and had gone on for many years beyond the time that had been expected when it was set up. It was really arranged in an ad hoc way. The Government were so neglectful of it that the people living there even had to pay for the water that was supplied by tankers to the area.

These young people have often had traumatic experiences before they made those traumatic journeys. In this country, we recognise that young people who have had such trauma and come into care should get additional support when they leave. We recognise that they should have special services provided to them to the age of 21 and, in certain circumstances, to the age of 25. These are vulnerable young people. They need additional support. They have had additional challenges which other young people have not.

It is therefore concerning to me that these young people who have had such trauma often have so little support once they turn 18, and may even be made destitute. That, of course, also raises the risk that they may become involved in crime. I remember meeting this particular Kosovan Albanian young man, who was so kind and seemed of such good character, with another young man—perhaps from Kosovo as well—who

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looked to me like a real thug. This young man was looking up to this leather-clad, rather rough-looking chap. I can see that if one makes such young people, who may have come from good backgrounds, destitute, the risk is that they will get involved with such unsavoury characters. One is particularly concerned for the young women who may be put in this situation of having their support withdrawn at the age of 18, and thinks about what might become of them if they should become exploited and involved in crime. These concerns are shared by the Refugee Children’s Consortium, a coalition of 40 charities working in this area.

I meant to make an apology to the Minister; I am sorry not to have done so before. In our recent discussion on the welfare of women who are pregnant or who have newborn children, I regret that I may have given the impression that the Government and the Minister himself did not care that much for the welfare of these women. I am sure, of course, that the Government are very concerned about the welfare of such women, as we all are. I apologise for giving that impression; I will be more careful in future. I look forward to the Minister’s response. I beg to move.

Lord Storey (LD): My Lords, I support the amendment in the name of the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, The noble Earl successfully moved an amendment during the passage of the Children and Families Act, which the Government courageously supported, on children in foster care staying on beyond the age of 18, realising that that care and support was crucial to those young people.

This is a simple but essential amendment. This has been my only contribution to the Committee, and I am grateful to the organisations that have sent me briefings on this topic, not least the Children’s Society. The principle behind Amendment 81 rests on the belief that all young people who came to these shores as children and were in care should be able to receive leaving-care support, as all other care-leavers do, until they settle here or until they leave the UK.

I am deeply concerned about the impact of Schedule 3 to the 2002 Act, which allows local authorities to withhold or withdraw support from certain migrants, and the effect it has on young people who came here as unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, who have been made destitute because they exhausted the appeal rights when they turned 18. This House has always believed that the welfare of young children is paramount. As such, care-leavers are rightly supported in education according to their need rather than their status. Whether they were trafficked here for exploitation, were escaping a war-ravaged country, or fleeing torture or persecution, they should be able to get the support they need while they are in this country.

Some Members of the Committee might well say that if the Minister accepts this amendment, we will create further incentives for young people to falsely claim to be under 18 when they put in an asylum application. That argument is baseless—it simply is not supported by any evidence. The OECD has shown that there is no correlation between levels of support, permission to work and access to healthcare, and the number of asylum applications a nation receives. I hope the Minister will tell us what he makes of that.

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From my time as leader of Liverpool City Council, I am well aware that when children are taken into care, a local authority assumes the role of corporate parent. That means that the authority has both a legal and moral duty to provide the kind of support that any “good parent” would provide for their own children, regardless of where they were born or who their parents are. That role rightly continues as children approach the age when they leave care, as it equips those young people with the skills and confidence they need to succeed in later life. Crucially, that should include those who came here as unaccompanied children.

It is interesting to note that the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England said the current situation was,

“a stark example of how legislation, designed with the best interests of children in mind, differs in its implementation between young people who are, and those who are not, subject to immigration control”.

Children are children. Best intentions are simply not good enough. Indeed, children’s charities have raised concerns about the correlation between Her Majesty’s Government’s policies on immigration and the incidence of destitution among asylum-seeking and migrant children. As the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, noted during the passage of the Children and Families Act, our understanding is that we currently treat those 18 year-olds more harshly than adults of similar status, but who have not come through the care system.

To withdraw leaving-care support from those young people will put them at risk of exploitation and forced criminality, as well as make it less likely for them to return home when it is safe for them to do so if they are no longer in contact with local authorities. I therefore hope that the Minister, in his reply, might agree to review the impact that will have on child protection and children’s rights. We must not miss this opportunity a second time. I have personal experience of this as a head teacher. When an unaccompanied child from Mongolia came to my school, I saw the wonderful support he was given by his foster parents, but also saw the problems he faced when he got to the age of 17 and a half.

Forget targets and quotas; I hope that we will have the courage to remember that we are talking about children and young people here.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno (LD): My Lords, this is the appropriate place, following the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and my noble friend Lord Storey, to thank them and other noble Lords for all the work they did on the Children and Families Bill to secure this increase from the age of 18 to 21 for those who would have lost care. They made sure that those who reach age 18 will not immediately be cut off from their lifeline and support network. We are also grateful to the Refugee Children’s Consortium—a group of more than 40 organisations that are actively interested in and concerned for young people—for coming on board and saying, “What this proposes is unacceptable; to cut off care at 18 is not something we should countenance at all”. The Children’s Society, Action for Children—formerly the National Children’s Home—the NSPCC and all the refugee councils are working tirelessly on this issue.

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5 pm

I shall just mention Amendment 88. According to data from the Ministry of Justice, more than 2,500 additional non-asylum immigration cases involving children under 18, and 8,400 immigration cases involving young people aged 18 to 24 bringing cases in their own right each year, will no longer be covered by legal aid provisions. This is an absolutely outrageous situation. There are many separate migrant children in the UK who never claim asylum but whose welfare may depend on being able to remain here. So who are these children? Examples that have been highlighted repeatedly by noble Lords and by the Refugee Children’s Consortium include children who have been abandoned by their parents or carers in the UK; children who are in care; children who are abused or exploited in private fostering arrangements; and children who would be at risk of abuse or exploitation if they were returned to their country of origin. Sometimes these children will have been living in the UK for many years and will have no significant or lasting connection to their home country; many years might separate them from the culture into which they were born, and they are now in a different culture and environment. Their best interests would depend on their being allowed to remain in the UK.

When the Government passed the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, they relied heavily on the use of exceptions to preserve justice. These exceptions include some—and here is the confusion—but not all refugees; some but not all trafficked persons; and some but not all survivors of domestic violence. The Government forecast that there would be 70,000 applications for this funding every year to provide the aid needed. In fact, there have been six, and one of those was an immigration case. Why is that? For the children I speak of today, applying for this funding is a mountain to climb. There are 14 pages of forms to fill in plus an 11-page information pack and the usual means and merits forms. This is a big task for any adolescent with no help whatever.

A child’s immigration status based, for example, on having lived most of their life in the UK, will attract no legal aid, even if it goes all the way to the Supreme Court. I ask the Members in this Chamber today to imagine that they are 17 and a half years of age and are facing deportation. How would they feel? They would have a feeling of terror. I have heard so many stories of youngsters reaching this age; one even hung a noose over his bed in case the day came when there was a dawn raid, in which case he would commit suicide. We cannot countenance this sort of society, in which so many young people live in this absolute terror and great fear, and are abandoned and unknown.

I am a grandfather and am lucky to have seven grandchildren—and there are other grandfathers and grandmothers in this Chamber. Can we imagine our children in this situation? We would deplore it in so many ways. Yet that is exactly the situation in which so many of these children find themselves, with the fear of a dawn raid; of standing up by themselves in front of immigration officials, because lawyers cannot be found; and of deportation to somewhere they have never known. Then there is very often the dark period when they consider whether life itself is worth living.

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In conclusion, I quote some of the studies by Sue Clayton, a film producer, who has monitored these youngsters. One said:

“I faced the court at 18 with no lawyer. 1 was sick. Another boy wet himself”.

This is most embarrassing for kids. Another said:

“I answered all the questions truthfully but they said I was lying. I was hurt and upset. My parents are dead, and the court made fun of me, as if I was nobody”.

They did not understand what was happening. A third person said:

“I went away and thought it is best to kill myself, as no one has listened or understood. I have no proof, and they treated me like a criminal”.

I ask the Minister to think thoroughly about this sort of situation. These are not children from East Anglia, Scotland or Wales. They come from all parts of the world and we have an obligation to them. When I was younger, it used to be said that the Church of England was the Conservative Party at prayer and that the Labour Party owed more to Methodism than to Marxism. Every party has its moral foundations. I suggest that we will betray our moral foundations if we let the Bill go forward without any further serious amendment.

Baroness Benjamin (LD):My Lords, I wish to speak to Amendment 81A, which is in my name along with that of my noble friend Lady Hamwee, whom I thank for her support in helping me to put it together. I also support what was said by the other three noble Lords who have already spoken. This is a probing amendment and the intention is to investigate how best support can be given to young people brought to this country as children—that is, refugee children, trafficked children and children brought here for sexual exploitation and so on. These young people find that their lives come to a complete standstill when they reach 18 due to their non-status and lack of citizenship.

I thank my noble friend the Minister for meeting me to discuss this issue, and for his letter explaining the present policy and responsibilities of local authorities and children’s services, which are obliged to assist and protect young people with unresolved immigration status. My noble friend quite rightly pointed out current laws and regulations which theoretically should be applied by well managed and financed local authority children’s services. However, Kids Company, the charity which provides therapeutic, emotional, practical and financial support to 36,000 children, young people and families in services across London, Bristol and Liverpool—some with unresolved immigration status—still has serious concerns that the impact of the proposals in the Immigration Bill in its current form poses a major risk to vulnerable children and young people because, despite all the good intentions, the Bill does not appear to make adequate provision, or provide sufficient safeguards and protection, for the young people who find themselves with unresolved immigration status.

Kids Company’s concerns are not hypothetical; it has considerable evidence related to failures in care by some social work departments handling very serious child protection issues. In fact, the organisation spends approximately £1 million a year on staff whose sole

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responsibility is, sadly, to police the working of social work departments, which apparently cut corners and avoid responsibility, presumably because of budget limitations, and which it finds merely go through procedures as opposed to affording genuine care and protection to children. As Kids Company says:

“Unfortunately, unstable economic times … can lead to further pressurised and fundamentally unlawful decision-making by local authorities”.

Kids Company has had to initiate a number of pre-action protocol letters and judicial reviews, every single one of which has been actioned or ruled in favour of the children. With legal aid being diminished and time limits on assessments being removed, the framework of protection afforded by social work departments to the most vulnerable is weakening, so it is unreasonable to base further legislative change, which impacts on the children accessing vital services, on the premise that the system currently operates as described in the Minister’s letter. That is simply not the case according to Kids Company and other organisations. There must therefore be further clarification about the degree of the obligations that the Secretary of State and local authorities have in respect of this problem.

This amendment is necessary because many of these children, even those in care, when they turn 18 are often forgotten, unlawfully, by many local authorities. They are left to navigate a system that presupposes that they have an adult who has brought them up and have the tools to navigate themselves into early adulthood, or have parents who are able to assist when something unknown comes their way. This is simply not the case. So when local authorities fail to submit applications to the Home Office or fail simply to fill out an application for British registration to ensure citizenship, who is that young person or child supposed to express that failure to? How is that local authority being held to account?

We need to consider the psychological strategies used by overstretched workforces in local authorities to defend against overwhelming demand. In Kids Company’s experience it has found that some social workers can become immune to children’s distress because they have seen too much violation. They can become complacent, driven by overfamiliarity with horrific abuse; and that complacency can become normalised in the workplace. Unacceptable risks emerge when social work departments are under clinical and financial pressure.

There is an unintentional impact on children leaving care. The current legislation states that children leaving care are entitled to support until the age of 25 if they are still in education or training. However, in Kids Company’s experience, as soon as a child turns 18, some local authorities have already failed to confirm the child’s immigration status—and now use that failure to prevent the child leaving care accessing statutory support based upon the immigration position—or their limited leave to remain, granted by the Home Office. As a result, the young person has to go through the whole immigration court process to extend their stay. This can often take years and their lives can be left on hold because, even though their leave is extended, statutory bodies and employers are fearful of immigration laws.

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There is some anecdotal evidence that some unscrupulous solicitors who receive legal aid to assist these young people are practising without giving proper advice or carrying out the work correctly. These young people urgently need documentation to show that they have legitimacy to be in the UK—legitimacy that is suspended when they reach 18. This causes a huge problem when it comes to accessing higher education, which involves many obstacles and seemingly impossible hurdles for these young people. The university application forms require rigorous and detailed information that is impossible to supply because the young people have no documentation. So they live in limbo, waiting for decisions to come back from the Home Office to gain immigration status and, during that time, their access to higher education becomes a distant dream. They become disheartened as their ability to access local authority services is stopped, based upon their having no documentation. With no ability to work, the child turned young person is caught up in a cycle to survive in a state that has blocked his or her access to official help.

Another problem caused by unresolved immigration issues is that young people are not able to open bank accounts due to lack of relevant ID and proof-of-address documentation. The additional requirements on banks to carry out checks are another way of stigmatising this group. A further implication is that those young people will have no formal way of accessing support payments, if they are in care, once they have turned 18 or are receiving their leaving care grant. Because these young people have no documentation, they often live under the radar, surviving in rented accommodation that is poorly maintained and often not fit for habitation. However, they have nowhere else to go. Often the local authorities do not have social housing to offer them. Therefore, the proposed checks that landlords are expected to make will have an impact on these young people, and that is a cause for concern.

5.15 pm

Kids Company has majors concerns that at the moment a number of young people have significant undiagnosed mental health problems. Also of concern are other health issues such as FGM, sexual assault and rape—in fact, all forms of child abuse. Therefore, with restrictions relating to the NHS, there will be a great impact on young people with unresolved immigration issues and mental health concerns who are not cared for by local authorities. This matter does not seem to be addressed in the Bill but it needs to be taken into account when forming policy because it could lead to harmful and potentially life-threatening situations for individuals, with an impact on society.

The Home Office has not acknowledged the significant delays in sending out residence and leave to remain cards, and this is another considerable concern. For example, Kids Company has a client who was granted leave to remain two years ago and only this year received the card after a judicial review was launched by his legal aid immigration solicitor. In that period, he was not able to work legally or to access the leaving care support that he would have been entitled to had he had the leave to remain paperwork. His social

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worker eventually stopped support on the basis that he had not resolved his immigration status and he could no longer continue to be housed. This is just one example of a situation which is repeated regularly concerning those with unresolved immigration status.

Some might say that one easy option would be for those who have reached 18 and have lived in the UK for some years after being brought to this country to be granted citizenship automatically. If only life were that simple. Sadly, this policy would have many unintended harmful consequences, mainly with criminal gangs and unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of poor disadvantaged parents across the world by falsely offering a safe haven and citizenship for their children in the UK in return for large sums of money. These families would then be continually indebted to them. We must not give criminals any opportunity to exploit others. There therefore need to be other practical solutions to safeguard, protect and support these children and young people who tragically find themselves in an incredibly difficult and traumatic situation. I have met some of these young people and their stories make you weep, but one thing you realise is that they are very strong, extremely resilient and determined to take every opportunity to better their lives.

As I said, this is a probing amendment and the intention is to investigate how best to give that support to these vulnerable young people. As I have highlighted, the amendment will bolster and clarify the obligations of the Secretary of State and local authorities in relation to the various problems. I am sure the Minister will agree that there should be joined-up policies across various departments to ensure that these vulnerable young people do not fall through the gaps in the system. There is evidence of that happening and it has the potential to get worse unless we put sufficient measures in place. I look forward to hearing the Minster’s response and I dearly hope that we can find ways of working together to address the important issues that have been identified.

Lord Rosser (Lab): My Lords, the amendment in this group to which I wish to speak is Amendment 81AA, which would require independent legal guardians to be appointed to look after the interests of children trafficked into the United Kingdom. The amendment proposes the insertion of a new clause but this is by no means a new issue. A similar amendment was recently voted on and narrowly defeated during the passage of the Children and Families Bill. The Committee will be aware of the tremendous work of the noble Lord, Lord McColl of Dulwich, who has championed this issue for a very long time, and indeed the work of other noble Lords, including the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, and my noble friend Lady Royall of Blaisdon. We have been pursing this matter and the shadow Home Secretary has raised it a number of times.

We are returning to the matter again because it still is very much a concern. At least 450 children were identified as possible victims of trafficking in the past year alone. NGOs and police all say that it is most likely that the numbers of people trafficked, including children, are far higher than the national referral mechanism statistics record. A shocking two-thirds of

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children who are rescued from traffickers go missing again because the system to protect them is not strong enough.

Most of those children come from countries outside the European Union. They are here alone and have no knowledge of the country that they are in. They often speak and understand little English, and do not know who to turn to or how to find help. In the debate on this issue during the Children and Families Bill, noble Lords heard evidence from research commissioned by the Government, which highlighted the desperate need of trafficked children for specialist, independent support. That research, and the report by the Children’s Society and the Refugee Council, entitled, Still at Risk, which was published in September 2013, recommended the provision of “an independent trusted adult” whose,

“role would be to ensure”,

that all child victims are,

“able to understand their rights, ensure that their voice is heard in decisions that affect them and are supported effectively through the different legal processes that they are engaged in”.

Amendment 81AA would provide such a person.

When this was discussed in the Children and Families Bill, the Government argued that there was no need for new independent guardians for trafficked children since there are a number of professionals with responsibility for supporting a child under the Children Act. They pointed instead to the introduction of draft regulations and statutory guidance which they claimed would address all the faults in local authority care, rendering specialist guardians unnecessary. I suggest that that misunderstands the role of the independent legal guardian.

Child victims of trafficking find themselves in a foreign country and to access help they are expected to deal with many different state agencies; that is, local authorities, social workers, police, investigators, immigration officials and so on. When dealing with each organisation, they must engage with a different set of people and must repeat their story again and again, with all its traumatic details. This process is distressing and unhelpful for a child in unfamiliar surroundings. Children can become alienated and distrustful of those trying to help them, which leaves them vulnerable to retrafficking. Local authorities do not always seem to appreciate that young victims of trafficking often maintain links with the person who brought them to the United Kingdom because they speak the same language. A guardian with legal responsibility for the child would understand the dangers.

The role of the legal guardian is an entirely new role that no existing agency currently provides. That person would be a constant for the child in an ever changing world. They would accompany the child as they relate to all the different state agencies and would also have the right to speak on behalf of the child if the child requests it so that the child does not have to keep repeating their painful story if they do not want to.

Noble Lords will be aware that the Government recently published their draft Modern Slavery Bill but that does not provide for an independent guardianship system, so we are raising the matter again here. There is a growing coalition of support behind this idea. Trafficked children should have access to a trusted and

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independent advocate or guardian who is legally responsible for them and their interests in order to do what we are failing to do all too often at present; that is, to protect children who are the victims of trafficking in human beings from repeated trafficking and repeated abuse. I hope that the Minister will give a sympathetic response to this amendment.

Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, as the noble Lord has said, the issue of guardianship for victims of child trafficking is one that has support right around the House. When it was raised during the Children and Families Bill, I said in reply to the noble Lord, Lord McColl, that when he first raised this some years ago I had not been persuaded. However, particularly through his arguments, I came to be persuaded of the need, in part from the point of view of someone who has practised as a solicitor and needs someone from whom to take instructions. That is one of the functions that a guardian would fulfil. The draft Modern Slavery Bill, which is the subject of pre-legislative scrutiny, has been drawn up from the point of view of the victim and, like the noble Lord, I think that this would fit absolutely in protecting and assisting victims.

I have a couple of comments about the issues raised by my noble friends with regard to children and young people without immigration status. I first want to draw attention to a report published last year by the ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society at the University of Oxford, entitled No Way Out, No Way In about irregular migrant children. Its summary, which is a tiny part of a report that goes on for many pages, states:

“Our estimate regarding the high proportion of irregular migrant children who are either born or have spent most of their childhood in the UK invites a refocus of public understanding of this population”.

The second issue that I would like to mention is the very uncomfortable reporting that we have seen, not so much of the children to whom my noble friend Lady Benjamin drew attention, although some would fit into this category, but of wonderful young people—just the sort of young people we want to have in this country —who reach the age of 18 and are accepted at university and told they cannot go there. They are told that they need to go “home”. I am not saying that they are any more deserving than the other children in question, but I hope that the Government have been embarrassed by the reports because they should be, just as they are about the reports of the children assisted by Kids Company and others of whom we have heard.

When I tried to draft this clause, I really did not know how to do it. It seemed that so much is a matter for the Secretary of State’s discretion. I hope that when the Minister replies, he can assist the Committee with some clarity about what issues are matters of discretion and how that discretion comes to be exercised.

Baroness Lister of Burtersett: I will speak briefly to Amendments 81, 81AA and 88; they all deal with issues that have been covered recently by reports of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, of which I am a member.

I start with Amendment 88 on legal aid. In its report on the implications for access to justice of the Government’s proposals to reform legal aid, the JCHR

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was very critical of the application of the residence test to children. We said that,

“we do not agree that the Government has considered all groups of children who could be adversely affected by this test, and we note that no Child Impact Assessment has been produced”.

This is becoming a bit of a pattern, I have to say. The report continues:

“Such groups of children include children unable to provide documentation of residence and those who need help to gain access to accommodation and services … We are concerned that the Government has not given full consideration to its obligations under the second article of the UNCRC … we do not consider that the Government’s argument that cases can always apply for exceptional funding is sufficient to meet UNCRC obligations or the Government’s access to justice obligations. We are sure that the Government does not intend vulnerable children to be left without legal representation. The proposals give little consideration to the access to justice problems that the proposal specifically creates in relation to children, such as the potential complexity and urgency of the cases for which children would need advice and representation, or in some cases, the need to find a litigation friend to assist the child with their proceedings because they have become separated from their families … We do not consider that the removal of legal aid from vulnerable children can be justified and therefore we recommend that the Government extend the exceptions further by excluding all children from having to satisfy the residence test”.

In their response, the Government agreed to extend the exceptions further, but in my view, not far enough. Although any further exception is welcome, it goes only so far and does not meet the concerns of the JCHR about protecting children generally in relation to our obligations under the UNCRC. Having a lot of exemptions just complicates matters and I would have thought it was easier simply to say that it should not apply to children.

5.30 pm

The new clause set out in Amendment 81 reflects the concerns about destitution raised by the Joint Committee which are very similar to those expressed by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel. Again, the Government’s response did not deal adequately with our concerns, so they remain an issue. My noble friend Lord Rosser spoke to Amendment 81AA, and again the Joint Committee on Human Rights in its report on unaccompanied children and young people in the UK drew attention to the experience of the guardianship system in Scotland and suggested that it would be helpful to run a pilot of something similar here. It would not have to be exactly the same, but there should be a proper guardianship system. We waited many months for the Government to respond, which did finally happen recently. The response draws attention to the special advocate system of trial as if that solves the problem, but we have already heard why it does not. A special advocate is not the same as a legal guardian.

In addition to the arguments that have already been put, I should like to quote what ILPA has to say about this:

“‘Personal advocates’ without the requisite authority to make decisions on behalf of the child are not a solution to the problems legal representatives face because of the lack of an adult competent to give instructions in the case of a trafficked child”.

So while anything is better than nothing, this issue, which was raised over and again in the debates on the

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Children and Families Bill and previously, still has to be resolved. I hope that we can manage to do that through this Bill.

Baroness Hussein-Ece (LD): My Lords, I add my voice in support of the Amendment 81, tabled by my noble friend Lord Storey and moved by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel. The other day I read a Children’s Society report which was produced some time ago about the journey made by an asylum-seeking child. It is as relevant today as it was then. I should remind the Committee that when the United Kingdom ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child back in 1991, it recognised that children are vulnerable and require additional care and protection, and acknowledged their autonomy as rights holders in their own right under Article 3.

Later on, in Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009, certain provisions were put in place to safeguard children. At the time, in their response to the Children’s Commissioner’s independent review, the Government made clear their commitment to,

“give due consideration to the UNCRC Articles when making new policy and legislation”.

They emphasised:

“At the centre of this Coalition Government’s thinking is a determination to see children and young people achieve to their full potential, and the desire to empower individuals to shape their own future”.

This should apply equally to children and young people subject to immigration control. This is really the heart of the issue. As has already been mentioned, the children who we are seeing come from well documented war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Congo, Iraq, Iran and Eritrea. These children have often fled from these countries having seen family members killed and often having escaped being recruited as child soldiers. They have seen horrific things that we can only imagine and which none of our children, thankfully, will ever have to witness. However, they then have to navigate a system whereby they have to prove somehow that they are worthy of not being sent back once they get to the age of 17 and a half, after they have lived and been protected in this country for some years.

The phrase used here, which comes up time and again, is this “culture of disbelief” that they face when they have to navigate the system. Sometimes they are given a solicitor and, as my noble friend Lady Benjamin said very eloquently earlier, they have to rely on officials, usually from local authorities, who have a responsibility as corporate parents. However, often this is not very consistent and they find themselves—like most young people, who are very vulnerable—worried. Some of them are suffering from post-traumatic stress and all sorts of psychological problems due to what they have experienced but then have to prove that they should not be sent back and are worthy of being allowed to stay here and being given protection. We need to think very long and hard about the way we treat young people. It does not matter where they have come from—as my noble friend Lord Storey said so succinctly, they are still children. These are extremely vulnerable young people, and the other thing is that they are not huge in number. There is a perception that we are

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talking about vast numbers—we are not, but they are very vulnerable and distinct and their cases need to be given due care and diligence when they are looked at.

The amendment that the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, spoke to on guardianship is very important as well. That would guarantee that somebody is appointed who will be looking out for and speaking and advocating on behalf of young children. We have heard from social services departments, and I speak as a councillor and cabinet member for health and social services with particular responsibility for corporate parenting. I have met many social workers who were a bit overwhelmed by the amount of work they had to do and who felt they were subject to the legislation rather than being able to look at each individual case. I was not always satisfied that they were able to give the individual young people the care and advocacy that they needed, not because they were unwilling but because of pressures of work and sheer numbers in some inner-city areas. In particular, some very bright young people were offered university places and were unable to take them up. It was very difficult then for them to do anything further. It was almost as if their situation was parked and officials moved on to somebody else. I urge the Minister to think very carefully about this situation, where we are talking about very vulnerable young people.

Earl Attlee (Con): My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, for moving his amendment and to other noble Lords who have spoken in this debate. Amendment 81 would allow persons who entered the UK when they were children to continue to be provided with local authority support after they reached adulthood and had all their applications and appeals to stay refused but failed to leave. The noble Earl and others illustrated some of the cases that the noble Earl had in mind. Nevertheless, I would point out that our well developed system of justice and the rule of law has determined that these people should not be here.

Under the current legislation, automatic access to support and assistance stops if the person’s asylum claim and any appeals have been rejected. However, the legislation still allows support to continue where that is necessary to avoid a breach of the person’s human rights. This would include cases where the persons cannot return to their own countries through no fault of their own; for example, because they are too sick to travel or need time to obtain a necessary travel document. The Government remain committed to ensuring that failed asylum seekers leaving local authority care do not face an immediate or abrupt withdrawal of all support. In answer to my noble friend Lord Roberts, it is important that the consequences of the failure of their asylum claims are fully explained to them at the time. It is also important that human rights factors are properly assessed by the local authority in a consistent way. My noble friend Lady Hussein-Ece expressed some concern on this point.

I understand that the Children’s Commissioner has been looking at these issues and will shortly be issuing a report. The Government will consider the report very carefully. However, I think it is wrong in principle that adults who can reasonably be expected to return to their own country should retain access to welfare support from public funds if they refuse to do so.

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My noble friend Lord Storey expertly raised the issue of age on arrival. The Committee will certainly need to consider whether the amendment creates obvious incentives for young people to claim, falsely, to be under 18 when they apply for asylum. My noble friend Lord Storey suggested that there is no evidence that the amendment would lead to more asylum seekers claiming to be children. As a simple matter of fact, many local authorities have to do age assessments because some asylum seekers falsely claim to be children. If people who claim asylum before the age of 18 are allowed indefinite support, this can only add to the problem.

I am grateful to my noble friend Lady Benjamin for the detailed way in which she spoke to her important Amendment 81A. It is not clear what this amendment would achieve for the really important people—the young people themselves—other than by being a great probing amendment. The criteria for making the decisions covered by the amendment are already known and publicly available. As I understand the proposed new clause, the reference to,

“young people … who have irregular immigration status”,

is meant to refer to a group of young people who are entitled to indefinite leave to remain or to British citizenship because their parents had that status but, for whatever reason, those parents never got round to pursuing the applications of that kind that would benefit their children. Some of those young people will also qualify to be here in their own right because of their own length of time spent in the United Kingdom.

Publishing a report will not give those children and young people what they need. What they need to do is to come forward and apply. There are very clear routes open to them. If they were born in this country and have lived here for 10 years with only short absences, there is provision for them to be registered as British citizens. They may also apply on the basis that their family life or private life is in the UK. For private life, there is special provision for a person under the age of 25 who has spent at least half their life living continuously in the UK; and for a person under 18 there is provision for someone who has lived continuously in the UK for seven years and for whom it would be unreasonable to expect them to leave. These are generous provisions and it is difficult not to regard most, if not all, the cases behind the amendment being included here.

In addition, we are willing to make available a named point of contact for them or for the charities and NGOs working with them to approach with personal applications. This will also allow us to make formal referrals to local authority children’s services on behalf of those who need support and assistance in that way. If some of them are in risky situations, as we are frequently told, these arrangements are by far the best for them and not some kind of blanket approval without contact with us.

5.45 pm

Apparently, there may in some cases be issues about funding these applications or about eligibility for local authority support. Many will, of course, be covered by local authority arrangements for looking after children in need. If people are uncertain or anxious about this,

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that is all the more reason for the various groups working with them to approach us with individual applications so that we can find practical solutions. My noble friend Lady Hamwee talked about the Oxford study,

No Way Out, No Way In

. We have seen this and understand that the figures in it for such children are at odds with other studies. In our view, the best way forward for these young people is to make applications, so that any issues they may have that we are unaware of can be taken into account.

On Amendment 81AA, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, for explaining the problem. In 2010, just after the coalition Government came to power, I was shocked to hear about the problems and I am grateful to my noble friends Lady Doocey and Lord McColl for raising these issues by a variety of means, both inside and outside the Chamber. The Government are wholeheartedly committed to tackling the abhorrent crime of modern slavery and building on our strong track record in supporting the victims as well as fighting the perpetrators. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary is taking action through legislation, a draft Modern Slavery Bill currently in pre-legislative scrutiny, and through a range of non-legislative work.

Supporting children, the most vulnerable group of all, is at the heart of our efforts. During a debate initiated in December by my noble friend Lord McColl of Dulwich during the passage through this House of the Children and Families Bill, the Government made clear their commitment to improving the support received by trafficked children. This House decided this issue at that time, as pointed out by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser. We already have comprehensive and well established child support arrangements under the Children Act 1989 and a statutory duty under the Children Act 2004 to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in need of protection, including trafficked children, but we recognise that local support to trafficked children can be inconsistent and that we must do more.

Following that debate and the long-standing call from parliamentarians and NGOs, the Government have announced a trial of specialist and independent advocates for child victims of trafficking. The noble Baroness, Lady Lister, suggested that special advocates were not the same as legal guardians, but what vulnerable children need is not so much more legal advice as an adult whom they can trust and talk to openly. That is what we are providing through special advocates, who can befriend them through this process.

The trial will not only include both independent specialist advocacy provision but test it against the existing system that I have described, supported by new, strengthened statutory guidance and regulation in this area. I say in response to the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, that an evaluation will take place six months into the trial, with a full evaluation at 12 months. This means that we can start looking at the impact of the child trafficking advocate model during the passage of the Modern Slavery Bill.

Lord Rosser: Can the Minister clarify whether in the trial that is taking place the advocates to whom he has referred will have the same roles and responsibilities as are set out in my Amendment 81AA for an independent legal guardian?

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Earl Attlee: My Lords, I very carefully read through the noble Lord’s amendment—to the extent that I detected a typographical error. There were a lot of points, but, broadly, that is the objective. However, I cannot say at the Dispatch Box that every single provision will be covered.

Baroness Lister of Burtersett: I quite understand that, but could the Minister write to us afterwards to say exactly which elements of the amendments will be covered and which will not?

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I would be delighted to do that.

We are fully aware of the importance of getting support for trafficked children right and are wholly committed to doing so. It is crucial that we take the opportunity to look closely at how we achieve the best possible results for children. I hope that the Committee agree that it will be important that we learn lessons from this trial so that we get the right arrangements in place for this exceptionally vulnerable group of children.

Amendment 88 effectively holds the Government to ransom. My noble friend Lord Roberts asked about the availability of legal aid and suggested that not all asylum, trafficking and domestic violence claims receive legal aid. I reassure him that all asylum claims and appeals, and all applications for a right to enter or remain by victims of trafficking and victims of domestic violence, receive legal aid, subject to the usual means and merits test. As the Committee knows, the scope of the legal aid scheme has been decided by Parliament through the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act—LASPO. I do not believe it is advisable to reopen the issue here and I am sure that, in his heart, my noble friend Lord Roberts recognises that, too.

The noble Baroness, Lady Lister, when speaking to Amendment 88, suggested that the residence test should exempt all children. As she said, the Government responded to the JCHR report by extending the exceptions to the residence test in relation to children. The Government are satisfied that the proposals for the legal aid residence test are compliant with their obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. I also wish the House to note that the residence test is not yet in force. Parliament will have the opportunity to consider the residence test when the relevant statutory instrument is laid before it.

Legal aid is and will remain available for the highest priority cases, such as asylum seekers or advice and damages claims for victims of trafficking. Children—or those who entered the UK as children—who fall into one of these groups are eligible for legal aid. It is right that limited funds should be targeted towards them. Therefore, only children and young adults who do not fall into one of those high-priority groups will not be eligible for legal aid, in line with LASPO. Children who are to be removed are well protected in the immigration system. In addition to the duties towards them imposed by the Children Act and the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act, in this Bill we add further protections—placing the Government’s policy of ending the detention of children on a statutory footing. In light of that, I hope that the noble Earl will feel able to withdraw his amendment and other noble Lords will not press theirs in due course.

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Lord Hylton (CB): Before my noble friend decides what to do with Amendment 81, I urge the Government most strongly to give maximum publicity to what they have just said: first, about no abrupt withdrawal of support for children in care who reach the age of 18; secondly, about the possibility of children who have been here for 10 years or more achieving British citizenship; and, finally, about there being perhaps now or certainly in future a named point of contact for children and young people in irregular migrant status. In passing, I thought the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Benjamin, rather too mild: something much stronger and clearer is needed.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, the noble Lord makes an important point. There is no point in having good arrangements if you keep them quiet. We need to make sure that everyone knows what arrangements have been put in place—and perhaps who is responsible for prodding the Government to do them.

The Earl of Listowel: My Lords, I am most grateful to the Minister for his careful reply. I would be grateful to know more about one particular matter; perhaps he will write to me about it. It is the situation where young people who have come to this country as children and then become adults are removed and get harsher treatment than those adults who exhaust the asylum process. I think that it occurs in situations where they have exceptional leave to remain. For some reason there is a technicality that means that young people leaving care can be more harshly treated than adults. I would be grateful if the Minister looked at that particular question and wrote to me on it. Perhaps there will be a chance before Report to discuss these issues around young people and children a bit further.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, in response to the noble Earl’s first point, while not agreeing to reflect upon it, I will make sure that I understand the issue.

The Earl of Listowel: I appreciate the Minister saying that. I will withdraw this amendment in a moment but want to thank the Minister for his careful response. I also thank all noble Lords who took part in this important debate. I am very grateful for their contributions, particularly that of the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, who drew our attention to the JCHR report on these matters, and that of the noble Baroness, Lady Benjamin, who talked about the very important work of Kids Company—which is so well respected in this area—and its concerns. I understand that a number of local authorities face real difficulties because they may choose to extend support to young people leaving care in this situation but cannot guarantee that they will be refunded for that support. They face difficulties there. Again, I thank the Minister for his reply. I will look at it carefully but suspect that I will come back on Report with a further amendment in this area.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno: My Lords, the Minister gave us some noises regarding the continuation of support for youngsters when they get to 18 years of age. What is the Government’s intention in dealing with that? Is there some possibility of them bringing their own amendment on Report?

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Earl Attlee: My Lords, I hope I did not give an indication that I would bring forward an amendment in that particular area.

The Earl of Listowel: I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 81 withdrawn.

Amendments 81A and 81AA not moved.

Clause 65 agreed.

Clause 66: Transitional and consequential provision

Amendment 81B not moved.

Clause 66 agreed.

Schedule 9: Transitional and consequential provision

Amendment 82

Moved by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

82: Schedule 9, page 103 , line 18, at end insert—

“Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997 (c. 68)

In section 2 of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997 (jurisdiction: appeals), in subsection (2), after paragraph (c) insert—

“(ca) section 78A of that Act (restriction on removal of children and their parents),”.”

Amendment 82 agreed.

Amendment 82A not moved.

Amendments 83 and 84

Moved by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

83: Schedule 9, page 104 , line 21, at end insert—

“Prison Act 1952 (c. 52)

(1) Section 5A of the Prison Act 1952 (appointment and functions of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (5A)—

(a) omit “and” at the end of paragraph (b);

(b) after paragraph (b) insert—

“(ba) in relation to pre-departure accommodation within the meaning of that section, and”.

(3) In subsection (5B)—

(a) in paragraph (a), after “facilities” insert “, accommodation”;

(b) in paragraph (b)(i), after “facilities” insert “, pre-departure accommodation”.”

84: Schedule 9, page 104 , line 21, at end insert—

“Immigration Act 1971 (c. 77)

In Schedule 3 to the Immigration Act 1971 (supplementary provisions as to deportation), in paragraph 3, for “33” substitute “33A”.”

Amendments 83 and 84 agreed.