Sheffield Council’s Co-Operation Administration has today written to the Home Secretary with a damning appraisal of the proposed New Plan for Immigration.
In a strongly worded letter , co-signed by Labour Council Leader Terry Fox, the plans were criticised as “likely to worsen the current position, not just for those seeking asylum in the UK, but also for the UK as a host nation and its citizens”.
Labour is proud of Sheffield’s status as a city of sanctuary and we are asking Government to work with us in carrying out an effective, robust and transparent review of the asylum system.
Rather than an effective and compassionate response to the issue, this Tory government’s plans will not serve to make the situation better, but will likely exacerbate the current problems.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We are committed to Sheffield as a supportive and inclusive city, and we will continue to work hard to provide equality and fairness for all our diverse communities. This means in education and skills, employment opportunities, suitable housing and living in safe neighbourhoods with people and communities that thrive together. We seek the same high aspirations for everyone in the city – regardless of how they came to live here.
You can read the Full Letter to the Home Secretary below:
Dear Home Secretary
Sheffield is incredibly proud to have been the first City of Sanctuary in the UK and we continue to warmly welcome those who seek asylum. As a city, we strongly believe in showing compassion and kindness to those from all walks of life whom, for many reasons, find themselves seeking sanctuary.
If ‘The New Plan’ for immigration is accepted into legislation, this Government will have served to make it significantly harder, and more costly, both economically and socially, for us to respond effectively to this vulnerable group.
The New Plan for Immigration will not ‘fix the broken asylum system’. In the absence of robust, evidence-based argument to the contrary, we believe that this plan is likely to worsen the current position, not just for those seeking asylum in the UK, but also for the UK as a host nation and its citizens.
The current asylum system is already difficult for all those forced to endure it. It is a lengthy and complicated process with an inefficient and ineffective system which only highlights that it is not those seeking asylum that are the problem. The fault lies with the system.
The legislative approach of creating a two-tier system of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ migrants will not deter those who need to seek sanctuary. Their outcomes will not be improved by demonising and punishing them for trying to escape danger and persecution. It will simply make their route to safety even more treacherous.
A more effective approach would be to consider how to better enable those who have come to our nation to make a valuable contribution. People who seek asylum had jobs, lives and families in their home country and they want that in the UK too, establishing themselves to lead settled productive lives here in the UK.
The current system operates on a deficit whilst people await a decision. It continues to promote a vicious cycle where people are prevented at all stages of their asylum journey from contributing effectively to the UK as their host country.
Despite the lack of transparency regarding impact analysis or data on which the proposals are founded, it is clear the Public Sector Equality Duty implications of the plan are overwhelmingly negative across all characteristics and will likely worsen existing difficulties for those in fear of persecution, leading to an increase in destitution, including parents with children.
In turn, this will likely increase the financial and practical burden of responsibility on local authorities, police, healthcare providers and voluntary sector partners, which will only serve to damage social cohesion.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We ask the Government to work with us in carrying out an effective, robust and transparent review of the asylum system. There is a wealth of expertise and knowledge we can utilise.
Sheffield is, and will continue to be a supportive and inclusive city. We work hard to try to provide equality and fairness for all our diverse communities. This means in education and skills, employment opportunities, suitable housing and living in safe neighbourhoods with people and communities that thrive together. We seek the same high aspirations for everyone in the city – regardless of how they came to live here.