Harrow Council says the cost of children's citizenship is putting many eligible families off registering.

It has voted to write to immigration minister Caroline Noakes to ask it to reduce the £1,012 fee.

The administrative cost is just £372, and the council has suggested that this is a more suitable figure for children hoping to become citizens.

In a motion passed last week, it said: “No child should be denied their citizenship rights by reason of a fee.

“There is no substitute for citizenship, which is vital to future security and sense of belonging.

“Harrow Council values the borough’s diverse population and is alarmed that any children in the borough could be denied their citizenship rights because of their economic status.”

It also pointed out that, for children in care, it is responsible for covering the costs and views this as “an unjustified transfer of funds from local to central government”.

In the motion, it explained that these costs often put local authorities in the “unacceptable position” of having to weigh up the benefits of citizenship for children against the financial implications.

It therefore wants the registration fee for those in care to be scrapped entirely and will outline this proposal in its letter.

In his maiden speech in the council chamber, Cllr Dean Gilligan explained that a lack of citizenship can block children from certain opportunities – from going on some school trips to securing funding for higher education.

His plea was backed up by Cllr Adam Swersky, who spoke of his own experience as a child of immigrants and noted the “pride” people feel in becoming British.

He said: “We should be making the process easier for those who come here and contribute to society.

“Particularly for children, many of whom will have known no other home and will devote their lives to this country.”