Responding to the news that the government has temporarily suspended some of the data-sharing measures which form part of its ‘hostile environment’ approach to illegal immigration, leaders of the Church of Scotland, Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Churches issued the following statement:
“It is welcome news that the government has suspended some of the checks that form part of the web of the hostile environment. But the cruel core of the policy remains unchanged.
The hostile environment still deliberately prevents people who cannot provide the right documentation – for whatever reason – from getting work, renting a home or accessing the kinds of services we all need to live. In our local churches, we see how this is leading to poverty, homelessness and avoidable suffering.
We believe it is inhumane to use destitution, or the threat of destitution, as a policy tool to encourage people to leave the country. As Churches, we are calling for the hostile environment to be brought to an end, not simply given a new name.”
Revd Canon Gareth J Powell, Secretary of the Methodist Conference
Revd Nigel Uden & Mr Derek Estill, Moderators of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
Revd Lynn Green, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain
Revd Dr Richard Frazer, Convener of the Church and Society Council, Church of Scotland