No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) are a blight on our country’s reputation and represent a divisive, hostile agenda with deliberately racist aims.
Today’s Work and Pensions Select Committee report exposes how 80% of Universal Credit claims during the lockdown have resulted in no payment or an enforced Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) loan, but also reveals that more than 100,000 children are being denied any help at all under fundamentally racist Government policies.
Since March, 2.9 million people have applied for help under the Universal Credit system which has been operating for seven years.
Just over 200,000 people did not even get their claim processed in time. A further 960,000 people are believed to have been denied any help based on DWP figures.
By the end of May, a further 1.2 million people were given no option but to accept a loan from DWP just to cover essential bills and living costs.
The Government says these loans average £640, which is an astonishing £768 million of debt imposed on people as a result of the coronavirus crisis. DWP has become a major financial actor, despite not being subject to Financial Conduct Authority oversight and despite organised crime groups reportedly exploiting the system to commit fraud.
This means that, of 2.9 million applicants, more than 1.1 million got nothing and a further 1.2 million people were forced into debt.
That is 80% of those seeking help; an astonishing failure leaving many without hope after they had put their faith in the Government to help get them through the pandemic.
Ministers seem simply relieved that the Universal Credit system did not collapse under the weight of online applications and are decidedly disinterested in improving outcomes for the majority of people seeking assistance.
The select committee also reveals on Windrush Day that at least 100,000 children are being refused any help under hostile environment policies called ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF).
These rules were originally only for illegal immigrants, but Cameron and Clegg imposed them on many more people born in other countries but here legally, living and contributing in the UK.
In my constituency I have seen the impact of this racist policy first hand: working parents who have lived here for decades witnessing their British born children denied the same support as classmates and neighbours.
Ministers are creating a generation of children who are unequal citizens.
Their policies mean more than 100,000 children already lack the same rights as their contemporaries to benefits, housing and even education.
NRPF generates division and further hostility, and deliberately leaves many families from already disadvantaged minority communities destitute in this crisis.
Johnson’s Government also risk another Windrush scenario as these children grow – in number and as they age and the extent of the discrimination they face is revealed.
The committee is calling for these rules to be suspended during the pandemic and I support them being ended full stop. They are a blight on our country’s reputation and represent a divisive, hostile agenda with deliberately racist aims.