Hackney Council has announced a £100k fund to support local residents financially impacted by the coronavirus crisis, but unable to access the welfare system due to their immigration status, as it calls on the Government to scrap the ‘no recourse to public funds’ condition.
The fund will support local residents with no recourse to public funds, filling a gap left by central government immigration policies.
‘No recourse to public funds’ is a condition placed on some people as part of their immigration status. It means they are unable to access support via the welfare system. During the coronavirus pandemic, with many people unable to work, this has left many people without access to money to pay for basic necessities.
Following bids from a number of local organisations, two grants of £30,000 will be awarded to charities Family Action and East End Citizens Advice Bureau who are working with a number of referral partners. The remaining money will top up existing subsistence funds for families with children – who are entitled to support – via the Council.
The money will be used to provide emergency help with food, reconnection of fuel supply and cost of utilities, help with travel, toiletries, basic or essential communication needs, rent arrears, basic clothing, child or baby essentials, prescriptions or rent deposits.
In a letter to the Home Secretary Priti Patel (see side bar), the Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville and cabinet colleagues urged the Government to address its failure to provide support to migrants and refugees during the pandemic.
They said: “The role of local authorities should be to provide humanitarian assistance to anyone who needs it, no matter their immigration status or background. To be able to do this, we are urging you to scrap the ‘no recourse to public funds’ condition, or at the very least, suspend this condition during the coronavirus pandemic, to allow public services to support everyone that needs help.”
The letter outlines the Council’s support for the Children’s Society’s #ALifelineForAll campaign and goes on to say: