Debates between Lord Green of Deddington and Lord Bates during the 2019-2024 Parliament

Wed 16th Sep 2020
Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee stage:Committee: 4th sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 4th sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 4th sitting (Hansard): House of Lords

Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill

Debate between Lord Green of Deddington and Lord Bates
Lord Bates Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Bates) (Con)
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I have received one request to speak after the Minister from the noble Lord, Lord Green of Deddington.

Lord Green of Deddington Portrait Lord Green of Deddington (CB) [V]
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My Lords, I do not always agree with the Home Office, but I do commend the answers that the Minister has just given on these three amendments.

I want to make some brief comments on Amendment 79. As the Minister just pointed out, the present income threshold for a spousal visa is designed to ensure that those coming to the UK for family reunion have enough resources to play a full part in British life and do not become a burden on the taxpayer. That is surely a sensible approach. As she mentioned, this has been to the Supreme Court, which ruled the policy to be lawful. Indeed, far from removing the threshold, there are, in certain cases, strong arguments for raising it.

The Migration Advisory Committee has said that, on average, for the family income to cover the cost of all public services, a higher threshold is required: namely, £25,700, rather than the current level of £18,600—a difference of £7,100. Even that threshold would not be enough, it says, for a non-EU household to make a net contribution to public finances. For them, the figure would be £38,000 a year. We must have in mind the impact of changes to these rules on the taxpayer and the reaction that they may have to that.

Finally, it is perhaps important to note that a reduction in the threshold would run entirely contrary to the Government’s 2017 election manifesto, which promised to raise the level of the threshold. That, of course, has still not been done.