welfare and public services
As I said at the opening of our conference at the weekend, it’s hard to believe that four months ago Against Borders for Children was little more than a Twitter message thread between a handful of willing volunteers, a draft of an open letter, and a 2-page campaign strategy.
The number of people living as international migrants now stands at 244 million according to UN statistics. - a rise of 41% since 2000. As a proportion of the world’s population of just over 7 billion the number of people mobile across international frontiers now makes up a rather modest 3.3% of everyone on the planet – up from 2.8% back at the start of the millennium.
The provisions of the Immigration Act 2016 are now rapidly rolling out, stripping many important rights from migrants and refugees as they do so. The English or Welsh language requirements for public sector workers came into force on 21 November. A Code of Practice directed to public sector employers sets out what is expected from them. The workers who will need to meet these standards of language are all staff who work in customer-facing roles including permanent and fixed-term employees, apprentices, self-employed contractors, agency temps, police officers and service personnel.
The collection of nationality and country of birth data in schools and nurseries was a change in policy announced without much fanfare last spring. The government intended to link this new data to other information such as address and ethnicity that is held in the National Pupil Database (NPD). The NPD contains the records of around 20 million people. The data is never deleted, and identifiable information on individual pupils is accessible to the Home Office, the police, and third parties such as researchers and the press.
Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to the Labour conference last week threw a large stone into the otherwise undisturbed waters of the mainstream political consensus on immigration. His refusal to join the chorus of calls for even more draconian controls over the right to move across borders is seen by some as more evidence of how out of touch he is with the public mood.