HC Deb 19 October 1971 vol 823 cc600-1

Lords Amendment: No. 17, in page 7, line 31, at end insert: (6) Where a person is liable to deportation under section 3(5)(c) or (6) above but, without a deportation order being made against him, leaves the United Kingdom to live permanently abroad, the Secretary of State may make payments of such amounts as he may determine to meet that person's expenses in so leaving the United Kingdom, including travelling expenses for members of his family or household.

6.0 p.m.

Mr. Sharples

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

The Amendment empowers my right hon. Friend to meet the removal expenses of a person who has either become liable to deportation on conviction and recommendation by a court, or belongs to the family of such a person, and who is willing to leave the country without a deportation order being made. In other words, it applies to a person who leaves this country under what is known as the supervised departure procedure. Hitherto, the expenses of these people have been met on a non-statutory basis—in fact, without the specific authority of Parliament.

When the Bill was drafted it was thought that this point could have been covered in Clause 29. But that applies only to a person leaving voluntarily. Particularly in view of a later Amendment, in which it has been made even more clear that Clause 29 is to apply only to a wholly voluntary departure, one cannot say that a person who leaves under the supervised departure procedure is leaving in quite the same way. The Amendment would regularise a situation which has existed for a long time.

I think that the House would generally agree that, particularly for young people who may have offended and also for first offenders who are recommended by a court for deportation, it is often much more humane and in their own interest that, where possible, the supervised departure procedure, which does not carry the stigma of deportation, should be used. It is hoped that this will be used rather more frequently in future.

Mr. Archer

When the Minister of State said that someone who leaves under a scheme of supervised departure cannot strictly be said to be leaving voluntarily, he made the greatest understatement since Columbus said, "I think I have found something".

We do not complain at the principle of what is being done here. It is obviously right that people who are offered the alternative of supervised departure rather than deportation should not for that reason lose the opportunity of having at least their fares paid and of being given such other assistance as has been offered in the past. We do not complain that this is done or that the position is regularised. There are one or two matters which we want to raise on this, but perhaps it would be more convenient to do so when we discuss Clause 29.

Question put and agreed to. [Special Entry.]

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