Government reverse decision to hike tribunal fees
A Leeds MP has hailed the government’s announcement to reverse a decision, which would have seen tribunal fees in asylum and immigration increase by as much as 500 per cent, as ‘justice’ for all communities.
Richard Burgon, MP for East Leeds, was a lead campaigner against the legislation when it was first introduced.
This week, he has told the Asian: “This is an example of what real opposition from Labour can achieve, helping many people and families across the UK.
“As the Member of Parliament for Leeds East, I’m proud to have been able to play the role I have done in achieving this.”
He added: “I’m delighted … that following pressure from myself and my Labour colleagues in Parliament, the Government has now announced a climb-down on this policy.”
Following overwhelming opposition against the scheme, which would have raised up to £34m a year, Sir Oliver Heald confirmed that all applicants would again be charged at previous fee levels. Those who had paid the increased fees would also be reimbursed.
Fees for an application to the first-tier tribunal – which deals with asylum cases and immigration – had risen from £80 to £490 earlier this year, whilst an oral hearing rose to £800 from just £140.
Announcing the policy reversal via a written statement, Heald wrote: “We have listened to the representations that we received on the current fee levels and have decided to take stock and review the immigration and asylum fees, to balance the interests of all tribunal users and the taxpayer and to look at them again alongside other tribunal fees and in the wider context of funding for the system overall.”