Decision details

Motions on Notice

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Decisions:

Councillor Dumont proposed a motion on notice relating to European Union settled status for EU citizens living in the East Hertfordshire district following Brexit. 

 

Councillor Dumont referred to the preamble to his motion on notice, as set out in the supplementary agenda papers.  He said settled status meant people did not lose their status and entitlements in the UK.  He was concerned that some EU citizens might be unaware of the need to apply for settled status or have difficulty in doing so.  He referred to the House of Commons briefing paper regarding Citizens’ rights provisions in the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019 – 20 which had been issued on 3 January 2020, and which indicated that about 30% of EU citizens might struggle with the EUSS application process.  The motion he had proposed aimed to help those who might struggle.  Whilst he acknowledged the commendable work the council had undertaken so far, including information on its website, the deadline for applications was approaching.  The council now had the opportunity to ensure that EU citizens knew they remained welcome in the district and to improve information for residents.  He proposed the motion on notice as follows: 

 

In relation to Part 3 of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill and the requirement for EU citizens to apply for EU Settled Status this Council:

 

1.                     declares that EU citizens are welcome in the District of East Hertfordshire; and 

2.                     will undertake an urgent review of the information it provides on its website and elsewhere to ensure that all EU citizens, including vulnerable groups and those with impairments have easy access to information regarding how to apply for EU Settled Status. 

 

Councillor Bell seconded the motion.

 

Councillor Andrews said he had been heartened by the concession that the Council had already undertaken good work in making EU citizens feel welcome, but he wished this sentiment had appeared earlier.  The council had been formed in 1972 and had joined the European Union shortly afterwards.  EU citizens had always been welcomed in East Hertfordshire.

 

Councillor Williamson said he was pleased that Councillor Dumont had acknowledged some of the work already carried out to support EU residents in the district in applying for settled status.  A campaign had been launched last year to help residents and the council had publicised this information.  In line with the recommendations of the Brexit Task and Finish Group, the council had commissioned the Citizens Advice Bureau in Hertford and Bishop’s Stortford to offer a face to face service.  This was the only district to have done so, and the council had been contacted by other local authorities for advice.  He proposed an amendment to the motion, to delete the word “are” in the first line of paragraph 1, and to add the wording “always have been” after the word “citizens” in that line, and then to add “and will continue to do so” at the end of that paragraph; and to add a further paragraph 3 “will ensure that information on applying for settled status continues to be promoted until the deadline for applications is reached”.

 

Councillor Boylan seconded the amendment.

 

Councillor Goldspink said she supported the amendment, and indeed supported the motion in its entirety.  The many European Union nationals in East Hertfordshire had contributed enormously to the district, including within the health system.  The council should show them it supported them in being able to stay in the UK. 

 

Councillor Andrews said his experience of the application process had shown it to be straightforward, although for those without the ability to use a smartphone it could be challenging. 

 

Councillor Dumont said in proposing the motion he had not intended any implication that the council had not been supportive of EU residents remaining in the district.  He thanked Councillor Andrews for his comments, and said he supported the amendment Councillor Williamson had proposed. 

 

The amendment was put to the meeting as follows: 

 

“This Council

 

1.    declares that EU citizens are have always been welcome in the District of East Herts and will continue to be so.

2.    will undertake an urgent review of the information it provides on its website and elsewhere to ensure that all EU citizens, including vulnerable groups and those with impairments have easy access to information regarding how to apply for EU Settled Status.

3.    Will ensure that information on applying for settled status continues to be promoted until the deadline for applications is reached.”

 

A vote being taken, the amendment was declared CARRIED. 

 

The amendment having then become the substantive motion, a vote was then taken on the motion, and declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED that this Council

 

1.    declares that EU citizens are have always been welcome in the District of East Herts and will continue to be so.

2.    will undertake an urgent review of the information it provides on its website and elsewhere to ensure that all EU citizens, including vulnerable groups and those with impairments have easy access to information regarding how to apply for EU Settled Status.

Will ensure that information on applying for settled status continues to be promoted until the deadline for applications is reached.

Publication date: 13/03/2020

Date of decision: 03/03/2020

Decided at meeting: 03/03/2020 - Council

Accompanying Documents: