Recently Helena appeared on BBC South East Politics to discuss the Conservative Government's record of failure on dangerous boat crossings.
Helena said, "The Conservatives have given up on serious solutions to a serious problem, and are instead chasing more gimmicks that will lead only to a greater cost for the taxpayers, gangs making more money and lives put at risk. It is time for them to step aside and give Labour a chance to deal with it."
Labour’s five-point plan
1. Crackdown on criminal smuggler gangs, through new Cross-Border Police Unit
A Labour Government would redirect spending from the unworkable Rwanda scheme, which the government has admitted is subject to a very high risk of fraud, to set up a new cross-border police unit to crack down on smuggling gangs. This would include millions of pounds of new investment through the National Crime Agency. Officers would be based in the UK and throughout Europe to tackle the gangs upstream. This would be supported with an urgent
review to identify the gaps in enforcement against smuggling gangs, with the findings used to lay out an Action Plan to be delivered by the NCA and Border Force, in collaboration with international allies and Europol.
2. Clear the backlog and end hotel use
The Home Office is taking 10,000 fewer asylum decisions a year than they were in 2015, leaving people waiting in limbo for much longer and pushing up accommodation costs. Fast tracking cases for safe countries, introducing triage and restoring proper casework standards and targets will mean quicker support for those who are refugees, much quicker returns for those who are not, and stopping costly hotel use.
3. Reform resettlement schemes to stop people being exploited by criminal gangs
Labour would redesign the existing resettlement schemes which are not currently working properly to prevent people being exploited by criminal gangs or making dangerous crossings – for example sorting the problems with the Afghan Resettlement Scheme or providing for refugees with family connections in the UK to be able to apply to resettlement schemes.
4. Agreement with France and other European countries on returns and family reunion
Labour would negotiate a new agreement which includes return agreements and properly managed alternative arrangements such as family reunion.
5. Tackle humanitarian crises at source helping refugees in their region
Labour would work in partnership internationally to address some of the humanitarian crises that are leading people to flee their homes including restoring the 0.7% aid commitment when the fiscal situation allows and strengthening support for the people of Afghanistan. From her work with Save the Children around the world, Helena has seen the difference that UK Aid can make to tackling issues at the root.