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No Recourse to Public Funds: Covid-19

Volume 689: debated on Monday 8 February 2021

What support her Department has provided to people with no recourse to public funds since the start of the covid-19 lockdown announced in January 2021. (911921)

The Government remain committed to supporting everyone through this pandemic. Many of the wide-ranging covid-19 measures the Government have put in place are available to migrants with NRPF, including the coronavirus job retention scheme, statutory sick pay and discretionary hardship payments for those who have to self-isolate. In addition, migrants with leave under family and human rights routes can also apply to have the NRPF condition lifted, something that is successful now in 85% of cases, in just 17 days.

After hearing evidence at the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee on homelessness, I know that the unwillingness of the Home Office to suspend no recourse to public funds and a lack of clarity over support have had devastating consequences during this pandemic for many. Despite being over a month into this lockdown, policy is still opaque around section 4 eligibility for individuals with no recourse to public funds. Will the Minister provide an update on this as a matter of urgency?

There is absolute clarity about the benefits. I have mentioned things like the coronavirus job retention scheme already, and I have mentioned how people on family and human rights routes can get the NRPF condition lifted, but I did not mention the over £8 billion available via local authorities for NRPF-eligible migrants to apply for. In addition, the hon. Member asked about section 4: people on section 4 support do get accommodation provided by the Home Office. We currently now have, I think, about 61,000 people in accommodation. That is up from about 48,000 before the pandemic, precisely because we are looking after the people most in need.