.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

More Home Office failures

A letter in the Guardian four days ago from Home Office Permanent Secretary, Matthew Rycroft sought to deal with some of the bad publicity being experienced by his department as a result of the inhumane and cruel policies being advocated by his political masters.

Mr Rycroft argued that those working under him are committed to public service, determined to have a positive impact and are focused on doing the right thing. I have no argument with that statement. His staff are non-political public servants carrying out the policies of an elected government. 

Where I do take issue is over the professed values which, Mr Rycroft characterises as 'compassionate, respectful, courageous, collaborative.'

Those values may be evident in the individuals working in the Home Office, but they are not reflected in the actions of the department as a whole, something that is abundantly clear from this article in yesterday's Guardian.

The paper reports a number of long-term British citizens have expressed alarm at receiving letters from the Home Office telling them they risk losing the right to work, benefits and free healthcare unless they apply for UK immigration status in the next six weeks:

Campaigners said they were concerned that the “scattergun” mailshot, which was sent out to thousands of people instructing them to apply for EU settled status before the end of June, revealed weaknesses in the Home Office’s databases, and a lack of bureaucratic clarity about who has the right to live in the UK.

The letter, which was wrongly sent to numerous people who have lived in the UK for over 40 years, states: “The United Kingdom has left the European Union, so to carry on living in the UK after 30 June 2021, you and your family members need to have a UK immigration status,” the letter states.

Among those who received the letter were several people with dual citizenship, including retired nurse Marianne Howard, 82, originally from Germany, who has been a British citizen for over 50 years; retired structural engineer George Smid, who was born in what was then Czechoslovakia and became a British citizen in 1987; Isabella Moore, originally from Poland, who has had citizenship for over 40 years and spent 33 years working as an NHS doctor; academic Jan Culik, who holds a Czech passport and naturalised in the UK 36 years ago; and architect Eva Apollo-Crawshaw, originally from Poland, who has been a British citizen for 40 years.

Several expressed their unease about the insensitivity of the letter’s wording, which highlighted that urgent action was required if the recipient and their family were to continue to be eligible for benefits, free healthcare and the right to work in the UK. Some, but not all, versions of the letter include a paragraph on the second page, telling recipients to ignore the notification if they already have citizenship. Anyone confused by the letter was invited to call a helpline, and several of those who tried to do so over the weekend and on Monday were directed to an answerphone message which stated: “We are experiencing a high demand for our services and currently have no more space in our call queue.”

Some recipients said they were disturbed to discover that they remain classified as foreigners on internal Home Office databases, despite having been British for decades.

These are not the actions of a compassionate and respectful department.

We are heading down a dark road

Free Inquiry vol23 No2 Secularhumanism.org/2003/03/fascism anyone?
To prevent the bad from taking over the good have to fight harder
"Those values may be evident in the individuals working in the Home Office" - press office, but not much beyond, one suspects.

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?