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Church of England to investigate citizenship concerns

Tue 11 Jul 2017
By Alex Williams

The Church of England's governing body has agreed to investigate to UK citizenship process after concerns were raised that costs are too high.

The General Synod also voted unanimously in favour - 310 in favour, zero against - on Monday that any recommendations are subsequently put to the Government.

Ben Franks, a lay member of the body, initiated the debate which heard the cost of applications is too high, unfair and risks hampering integration.

Danny Lawson/PA Wire

 

Mr Franks said: "Many of those who are eligible to apply for citizenship are working in the low-pay sectors of our economy due to their uncertain status making well paid employment more difficult.

"Many people save over years to pay for their applications, there are also those whose difficult situation leads them to go into long-term, high-interest debt from unscrupulous lenders to do so."

Those granted indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom face costs of £1,282 per adult to apply for citizenship. Citizenship enables them to vote in elections and travel more freely.

The motion supported by synod asked the Archbishops' Council to investigate the issues around the cost of applying for citizenship and to make recommendations to HM Government.

It also encouraged bishops in the House of Lords to seek opportunities to address the level of citizenship fees in debate. It urged parishes to raise the issue with their MP

The General Synod, which compromises of three houses - bishops, clergy and laity - has now concluded a four-day meeting York.

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