POLITICS

Steel, Child Refugees And Human Rights Abuses: What The Government Announced While The Focus Was On The Queen

21/04/2016 19:36 | Updated 22 April 2016

While David Cameron was paying tribute to the Queen, the wheels of Government were still turning.

No fewer than 12 ministerial statements were released, along with a pretty big announcement on the future of UK steel.

Here are announcements you may have missed while attention was focused on Her Majesty's 90th Birthday.

 

1) No help for child refugees in Europe

Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

The UK will take an extra 3,000 refugees – mainly unaccompanied children – from camps in the Middle East and Syria. While the move has been welcomed by the Refugee Council, others are frustrated that no child refugees in Europe will qualify for the scheme. Labour peer Lord Dubs, who called for 3,000 children already on the continent to be brought to the UK, questioned whether “the use of the ‘3,000’ figure is a deliberate ploy to muddy the debate.”

 

2) Part-nationalisation of Tata steel

Ben Birchall/PA Wire

In the days after Tata announced it was planning to sell its UK steel division, Business Secretary Sajid Javid repeatedly said part-nationalisation was not the answer. A few weeks on, and with no buyer in sight, the Government today promised to take a 25 per cent stake in any takeover deal. They also vowed to provides millions of pounds in loans to help make the buyout more appealing to any potential investors.

 

3) Tribunal fee increase for migrants

 

yekorzh via Getty Images

The Ministry of Justice announced a huge hike in fees for migrants appealing against immigration decisions. Tribunal costs will go up from £80 to £490 – a rise of 512%, while the oral hearings are set to leap from 471% from £140 to £800. The Lib Dems said people who will fall victim to these changes are likely to include family re-union cases.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "The Tories are intent on pricing vulnerable people out of justice wherever they can find them. A high proportion of decisions are currently overturned on appeal. It would make more sense for the Government to focus on getting the decision right first time round – saving time and money."

 

4) Human Rights Report

Jorge Casais via Getty Images

The Foreign Office published its annual Human Rights Report today. Among assessments of 30 Human Rights Priority Countries in the document, the Government claims it is “seriously concerned about the human rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories” and has “grave concern” about human rights in Iraq. It also notes that in Afghanistan “documented cases of violence against women have risen, with 5,132 cases reported to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission including 241 murders.”

 

5) Legal Aid 

 

Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

The Ministry of Justice announced yet another u-turn of proposals first put forward when Chris Grayling was running the department. Legal aid in the case of private family matters had been scrapped, with the exception of victims of domestic violence. However, the evidence relating to domestic abuse had to be a maximum of two years old, and there was no provision for victims of financial abuse. The Government today announced domestic abuse evidence could be five years old, and there will now be support available for financial abuse victims.

 

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