Cllr Sonia Winifred, Cllr Sonia Winifred, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture at Lambeth Council, has written a joint letter to Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, Minister of State for Immigration, with representatives from other South London councils, Cllr Rebecca Lury, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, Equalities and Communities of Southwark Council, and Cllr Kelly Braund Merton, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services of Merton Council.
Currently the fee for a young person to apply to become a citizen is £1012. There have been reports of young people who have lived in the UK for most or all of their lives forced into an impossible position to pay the fee or continue to be unable to access healthcare and university.
In addition, local authorities must pay for the applications of children in their care despite cuts to local authority budgets, and the councillors are urging the Home Office to waive the fee completely for looked after children.
Word from the Cabinet
Cllr Sonia Winifred said: “The fee of citizenship is disproportionate to the actual administrate cost. The government shamefully profits off children attempting to gain an equality with their peers. This practice flies in the face of the UK’s commitment to equality and fairness, and must stop.
“We urge the Home Office to apply the principles of compassion and fairness in considering the cost of citizenship and reduce the cost of British citizenship, especially for young people.”
Citizens UK have been leading the campaign which has involved cross party support from MPs and an online movement #ChildrenstoCitizens to urge the government to end the practice of charging the high cost for citizenship.
Representative of Lambeth Citizens, Bethan Tanner, Assistant Principal of St Gabriel’s College, said: “Citizens UK have been leading the campaign which has involved cross party support from MPs and an online movement #ChildrensIntoCitizens to urge the government to end the practice of charging the high cost for citizenship.
“The disproportionate cost of citizenship means that many young people are faced with barriers including being unable to go to university. We are glad that representatives from Lambeth, Southwark and Merton have joined the #ChildrenstoCitizens campaign to stop these unfair fees.”