Scrap ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’

Wednesday June 3rd 2020

Owen Thompson

Owen Thompson, MP for Midlothian


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Owen Thompson MP has urged the Home Office to immediately suspend ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) rules and prevent more people becoming destitute during the coronavirus pandemic.

NRPF restrictions leave many migrants unable to access state benefits, support and housing assistance and apply to a wide range of people with temporary permission to be in the UK including skilled workers, family members of British citizens, self-employed people, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants.

 
 

Mr Thompson said

“Covd19 does not care what stamp is on a person’s passport. All the safety nets which support our communities through this crisis must be available to everyone, regardless of their immigration status.”

“It’s wrong that so many people who live and work here, have family here, or who fled here seeking asylum, cannot access vital support and protection because of the UK government’s hostile policies.

“We already know that Covid19 disproportionately affects those in lower paid jobs. Those without recourse to public funds are more likely to be in casual, zero-hours or temporary work, but they don’t have the safety net of sick pay or Universal Credit. People working hard for very little are being left at real risk during this pandemic.

“By not being able to access public support those in essential roles will be unable to self-isolate when unwell. Others face destitution when the work runs dry.

“Midlothian Council like other local authorities in Scotland are under immense pressure to make sure everyone is safe, has a home and receives the support they need in this emergency. Their job should not be made harder by unfair immigration policies hindering decision making. In particular, the Scottish Welfare Fund should be removed from the UK Government’s list of inaccessible public funds so it can do its job for all who are in emergency need.

“At the recent Commons Liaison Committee meeting the Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not even seem aware that people were prevented from getting financial support because of the rules his own government imposes. With the flick of a pen he could fix this problem, even temporarily, by lifting the restrictions during this crisis.

“The UK Government must finally end their misjudged ‘hostile environment’ immigration policies. The pandemic response has shone a light on many injustices in society and we cannot go on as we were. This must offer a chance to reflect and rethink the kind of society we want to be, at the heart of which is supporting and valuing everyone equally, regardless of where we come from.”

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