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Good evening - I'm Riz Lateef.
An investigation by BBC London
reveals how much the government has
made by raising the cost
of becoming a British citizen.
It's collected more than £800
million over the past six years.
It can cost eligible applicants -
including children born in the UK -
about £1000 to register.
But we've learned it only costs
the Home Office around
£300 to process it.
They've told us the money
is reinvested to fund
the wider immigration system.
As our Home Affairs Correspondent
Nick Beake reports -
it's left some young Londoners
struggling with debt.
Samson Adiola was born
in Nigeria and came to London
with his family when he was five.
He was entitled to British
citizenship, but never took it.
But when he turned 18
he decided to apply because
if he went to university
as an international student,
he'd have to pay much more.
He then found out that
officially becoming British
would cost nearly £1,000.
It was very difficult,
definitely for my mum,
having to go around looking at where
she could get the money from.
One of the main places we got help
from was the church and they put
a substantial amount together just
to help us out.
BBC London has learned the cost
of processing applications such
as Samson's was only £260,
a quarter of what he was charged.
It's really kind of upsetting,
actually, that they are
actually doing this.
And for other people who may not
even be able to scrape
that money together,
who are entitled, or have the right
to British citizenship and who can't
put forward the application
because of the cost.
It's really frustrating.
We came for a workshop.
Some charities which help families
gain British citizenship condemned
the rising Home Office fees.
To know that you have a right
to register as a British citizen,
Parliament has given you that right
and the Secretary of State is trying
to profiteer and sell the benefit
that was given by Parliament as far
back as 1983.
It is a complete scandal.
The Home Office told us it has not
been making any profit
from these rising fees.
It said any income generated
above the actual cost of processing
an application goes into the budget
which helps protect the UK border.
And so it actually reduces
the burden on the taxpayer.
One thinktank labelled this yet
another stealth tax, although it did
argue that applicants would benefit
from British citizenship
in the long run.
These people are coming in to become
British citizens and I suppose
they should get used
to all these stealth taxes.
One more big one like this maybe
won't hurt if they get the benefit
of the National Health Service
and everything else.
Ministers stress that
for the likes of Samson,
taking British citizenship
is not compulsory.
But he wanted a guarantee he'd
be able to stay here,
although he now fears
others may also struggle
to pay for that assurance.
Nick Beake, BBC London News.
17 - that's the number of people
in the capital who've
lost their lives to knife crime
since the start of the year.
Today in a bid to help
tackle the problem -
the Mayor's promised millions
to fund youth services
in an effort to steer young
Londoners away from violence.
Charlotte Franks reports.
Some of the Londoners
who lost their lives last year
after being stabbed to death.
There were 80 victims in total.
Many were just teenagers.
Gabriel knife crime is
Gabrielle knife crime is
an issue very close to home.
Not long ago one
of my close friends on
his way home outside
the hospital got stabbed
in his face and in
back of his leg.
When I was on my way
to the hospital to see him I was
I didn't know what to expect.
There has been a 23% increase
in knife crime across the capital.
Today, the Mayor met young
people at a centre in
Bermondsey where he announced he'll
be investing £45 million over the
next three years into youth
services, in the hope it
will help tackle the issue.
Having a youth centre gives young
people a place to go.
So, they're not on the streets like
getting influences from maybe
People have the option to come
here and people have the option
to have a safe zone
to go if they need it.
The money will come from
a combination of council tax and
But the news comes just a day
after a warning that Met
Police officer numbers could drop
to as low as 27,000.
Does it make sense to be
spending £45 million on
projects like this when we've just
heard police numbers are going to be
reduced in London?
I'm not going to apologise
for investing in young people.
I think this is an investment
for the future.
What I'm doing is investing
in policing as well.
We've had the biggest roll-out
of body-worn videos in the
world last year.
I announced additional sums
to the police last week.
We've also ring fenced
some of that was
dealing with knife crime.
In their fight
against knife crime the
Metropolitan Police carried out dawn
raids this morning across
Westminster to confiscate
knives and target repeat
knife crime offenders.
This is about keeping our young
people safe during half term and
that's the focus of this
week's activity for us.
A lot of young people
and children are off school
and it's about keeping them safe.
But workers here in Bermondsey say
the answer to solving knife crime
begins at grass roots level
with outreach programme
begins at grass roots level
with outreach programmes
key to their success.
Charlotte Franks, BBC London News.
Ayshea Buksh has got more on this -
so how will this work in practice?
Charities and youth groups will have
to bid for the money and they will
receive a grant. The £45 billion
fund will be available over three
years, so 15 million each year, but
this isn't just about knife crime,
the mayor already has a £7 million
knife crime strategy that he's
invested in. What City Hall says is
they want to look at communities
where the cuts to the youth
services, they say, were the most
severe and also what will be central
to any successful bid is a focus on
sport, culture, citizenship,
education and volunteering.
spoken to youth charities. What are
they saying to you about this?
That's right, this will be welcomed
undoubtedly by grassroots
organisations and I spoke to an
incredible youth project in Hackney
earlier this evening and they say
that while three years is great,
five years would be better because
they want to have a really good
chunk of a young person's
adolescence to be able to work with
them. Let's not forget, out of
London youth services are also under
extreme pressure as well. Sian Berry
from the London Assembly says this
is great and she hopes this will
start to repair some of the damage
that youth services across London
OK, Ayshea Buksh,
Parents of up to 70 pupils have been
told they'll have to find new places
for their children this September.
It's after a free school
in West London - which has only been
open for three years -
is to close.
Emma North has the story.
A half-term get-together,
a chance to have fun
and see your friends.
But at the end of this year,
this group will split up.
Their primary school,
Floreat Brentford, is closing.
When I found out that my school
was closing, I was speechless.
The only word I said was, why?
I miss my friends and I
miss my teachers also.
Theirs is a so-called free school,
it's paid for by the government
but run by a group called
the Floreat trust.
Floreat say they They have to close
the school because they can't find
it a permanent home.
And as a result, they
can't make the finances work.
Some parents aren't convinced.
This was where it
was all meant to be.
We have been fighting with planning
permission, with the borough,
the Department for Education
and Floreat Trust for
the last three years.
This car park was earmarked
for the new school but a planning
application never went in and now
there are claims that the children
are caught up in an
entirely political row.
I think they have been a financial
guinea pig in all of this.
It was a business opportunity
they tried to make work.
They have decided that it hasn't,
so they shut it down.
The trust are blaming the Council,
the Council are blaming
the Department for Education.
We have no idea where blame
lies, but at the end
of the day it is our
children that are suffering.
No one from Floreat would
be interviewed today,
but they said a statement.
We showed this to Hounslow Council.
This is outrageous,
Had this planning application been
submitted, do you think it
would have been approved?
Subject to the planning committee
approval, yes, because it had
the support of the council.
So, were you surprised
when the application
form didn't come in?
Yes, we were expecting it
January or February.
So why are the arguments flying?
Free schools have often been
the source of bitter
It's been very interesting watching
the free schools programme,
to see such a mundane aspect,
you might say, trying to find
premises that are suitable
to have a school being
such an obstacle.
This is a story that
simply hasn't gone away.
Government, which has a big interest
in making this look successful
and be successful as a programme,
hasn't been able
to help solve the problem better.
The parents have been
promised meetings with both
the governors and the council,
but whatever the reason
for the school's closure,
these pupils seem more keen
on playing proper games and less
on playing politics.
Time for the weather now -
so I'll say goodnight
and it's over to Phil Avery.
How is it looking?
Not great today, I will have two
Buck up otherwise you will have my
job, lots of leaden skies, a loss to
the tourism board of Bromley, it
looks like that through my window
and I suspect 3 euros, that is going
away to the east, beginning today,
and as a consequence, after all it
is mid-February, the temperatures
will dip away and we will scrape the
car is first up but there will be
some sunshine away from the remnants
of the cloud in the east to start
the day.. Before that by that
because we are going to end up
losing the sunshine from the west by
the latter part of the morning and
in the early part of the afternoon
at some point I think we will see a
bit of rain. It will stay dry in the
east, temperatures five, six, seven,
8 degrees, something of that order,
I would have thought, and I leave
you with a look at the weekend,
which looks to be just a bit warmer,