In our report, we found that systematic failures from successive governments had left many destitute, with levels of support inadequate to meet even basic living needs. As one mother told the panel, "I would buy one meal which I will share with my son. My son, is my priority, therefore I will provide his nutritional needs before my own and occasionally starving myself." The government said that they would take our findings into consideration, but I was extremely disappointed when, in June last year, the Home Office announced that they were freezing the support rates.
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has committed to abolish what she calls "modern day slavery", and within weeks will present a bill to parliament making it easier to prosecute and punish those responsible for human trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude and slavery.
FLEX and others working in the field of human trafficking, support strong efforts to tackle this crime. However, too often politicians and activists eager to abolish 'modern day slavery' demonstrate a desire to 'unchain' or save victims from their enslavement, that focuses on the end point, rather than the beginning of the trafficking process.
As long as the debate on immigration is hijacked by the most self-righteous on the left and those pursuing a divisive, xenophobic, anti-welfare agenda on the right, a sensible discussion remains out of the question. If such extremism and infighting among the political classes continue to dominate the debate, the concerns of ordinary people will doubtless go ignored for the sake of political point-scoring.
There is simply no evidence for the Lib Dem innuendo about British jobs being dependent on EU membership, an innuendo based on misrepresenting the economic analysis and the evidence.
Most members of the public are concerned about something. Maybe it's the environment, income inequality, the cost of childcare, creeping privatization of the NHS, unemployment, poverty, the punitive treatment of disability claimants, foodbanks, or the seemingly endless appetite of the British ruling elite for foreign military adventures.
We acknowledge putting an end to forced marriage is a difficult task, with many challenges - not least, coordinating concerted action across several continents. But the message from the UK government is clear - forced marriage is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
In the debate the Home Secretary claimed that the whole point of the measure to make it easier to remove certain people from the UK. However she was unable to explain how she was going to remove people whom she had rendered stateless and so would have no passport.
The public has been promised a reduction strategy to set out how this pledge would be achieved for some time, and over 200 MPs have signed Motions in the House of Commons calling for it. After over three years of deliberation the Government finally delivered their strategy this morning.
Will the Met Police's new approach to conducting stop and search help rebuild public trust Young people are yet to be convinced. The government's policy on stop and search is once again under the spotlight. In the aftermath of inquest into Mark Duggan's shooting, the police, Home Office and home secretary have all spoken about the need for a fairer and less divisive stop and search policy.
One of the most persistent points made by government officials, business people and others we have met on our parliamentary delegations to Kurdistan in the last six years has been the British visa system.
The growing number of police officers and staff, who cite devastatingly low morale within the police service as a reason why many of them are contemplating a change of job, must act as a wakeup call to the Home Secretary, PCCs and Chief Constables across the country.
Last week provided further evidence of how far the absurdities perpetuated by politicians, the rightwing press and the public, can slowly but inexorably shift our collective moral centre of gravity towards the routine acceptance of the unacceptable.
The prime minister will shortly begin the process of compiling his shopping list for EU reform. There is little doubt that EU migration will be at or near the top... It will take nerves of steel to walk the EU tightrope of asking concessions from the very countries whose citizens he wants to discourage from working in the UK.
Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful time over the festive season and managed to be around people you love and care about. I was lucky enough to be able to spend another Christmas here with my friends and the people I consider family...
Today marks one year since Ibrahim Magag - one of the UK's most closely monitored terrorist suspects - absconded from his Terrorism Prevention Order (TPIM). While Londoners were busy heading to the sales, Magag simply jumped into a black cab, never to be seen again. A year on, we are no closer to knowing where he is or how he was able to abscond.