All 1 Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale contributions to the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020

Read Bill Ministerial Extracts

Wed 22nd Jul 2020
Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill
Lords Chamber

2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 2nd reading

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

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Home Office

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

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Excerpts
2nd reading & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords
Wednesday 22nd July 2020

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: Consideration of Bill Amendments as at 30 June 2020 - (30 Jun 2020)
Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I look forward to the debates on the Bill in Committee and at other stages and draw attention to my registered interests, not least the work I do with charities representing child refugees. I endorse the comments made by a number of noble Lords already in the debate about the need for us to show more humanity in our approach to that. Hopefully your Lordships’ House will indeed do that.

I pick up on one of the remarks made by the Minister in introducing the debate. She said that any regional approach to immigration in the UK would cause chaos and therefore should be avoided. I reflect back on 2004 when, as First Minister of Scotland, I had identified the problem of Scotland’s depopulation. One of the ways we could tackle that problem was to encourage in particular those who had come to study in Scotland to stay, but also to attract new people to Scotland to energise both our population numbers and our economy with the entrepreneurship they would bring.

I agreed a scheme with the noble Lord, Lord Blunkett, when he was Home Secretary—an incredibly thoughtful and intelligent Home Secretary, who I think would win that debate he promised us at the end of his earlier contribution. He agreed a scheme that involved a fresh talent visa in Scotland. It was particular to Scotland and allowed those who had studied in Scotland to stay longer to secure work and perhaps establish a family and home in our country. The scheme was never abused. Report after report showed that it was possible to have a scheme in one part of the United Kingdom that worked for the local circumstances there. The partnership we developed at that time between the Scottish Government and the UK Government—the Home Office—was an exemplar in devolved-central government co-operation in the UK.

While debates about regional approaches to immigration are sometimes coloured by more extreme demands for devolving responsibility for immigration to one of the devolved nations—which I have never been in favour of—it is possible to have regional approaches. There are parts of the United Kingdom where a one-size-fits-all approach no longer works. This is not just in Scotland but can be in other parts of the UK too. I hope that when we come to debates on this in Committee or on Report, the Minister will be willing to listen to the opportunities that would exist if we opened the door to regional approaches, which would benefit the whole UK and not just the nations or regions affected.