Calls for council to write to EU residents living in Daventry district are rejected

The council was urged by the Labour party to write to EU nationals living in the Daventry district. Picture by Jeff J Mitchell / Staff
The council was urged by the Labour party to write to EU nationals living in the Daventry district. Picture by Jeff J Mitchell / Staff

A call for Daventry District Council to write to EU nationals in the area with advice on how to remain a resident in the UK has been rejected.

Opposition Labour councillors had put forward a motion calling for the authority to do ‘everything reasonably possible’ to contact nationals of other EU states to advise them of the action they need to take.

But Conservative councillors rejected the motion on Thursday evening (October 10), saying that it would see officers duplicating work already being done by the Home Office and that it would cost ‘unnecessary’ money to get in touch with each resident.

Labour councillor Ken Ritchie, proposing the motion, said: “There may be a lot of people who have seen headlines and assume there is nothing else for them to do. But the consequences of not registering for the EU Settlement Scheme can be quite serious, including the danger of being deported.

“If it is the case that some authorities are proactive in trying to make sure residents understand what they need to do, then I would like Daventry District Council to fall within that group.”

The motion read: “We note with concern reports that many EU nationals without ‘permanent residence’ or ‘indefinite leave to remain’ in the UK have yet to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and may not be aware of the steps they must take to secure their right to remain in the UK in the event of a decision by the UK to leave the EU.

But Councillor Richard Auger, who is set to become leader of the council on November 1, said the motion didn’t make any sense.

He responded: “The Home Office is taking this on and have this under control. We would just be duplicating their work, causing more work for our officers. We can’t just unilaterally take on jobs being done by the Home Office. This motion makes no sense and it would cost taxpayers unnecessary money.”

But Labour leader Wendy Randall said there were options the council could take that would not cost anything.

She said: “We distribute Daventry Calling out to residents, just put an advert in with it. I never understand why something so simple that we put forward has to be turned around to make it into a big cost negative.”

The motion was rejected, but Brexit advice is included on the council’s website here.