Ministers questioned on children living in poverty
17 January 2022
The Work and Pensions Committee questions ministers from DWP, DfE and Home Office on what the Government is doing to support children living in poverty who are from families with no recourse to public funds (NRPF).
- Watch Parliament TV: Children in poverty: No recourse to public funds
- Letter from the Ministers
- Engagement Summary - Children in poverty No Recourse to Public Funds
- Inquiry: Children in poverty: No recourse to public funds
- Work and Pensions Committee
Wednesday 19 January 2022
- Tom Pursglove MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office
- Will Quince MP, Minister for Children and Families, Department for Education
- David Rutley MP, Minister for Welfare Delivery, Department for Work and Pensions
Ahead of the session on Wednesday 19 January, the Committee is also publishing correspondence from the departments which reveals that no decision has yet been taken on whether to make permanent the temporary extension of free school meal eligibility to children in low income families with NRPF, introduced during the pandemic. The letter also promises a list of the different types of support available for people with NRPF attached to their leave. This has not yet been provided.
The letter also confirms that the DWP has no plans to improve the data it holds on children in families with NRPF in poverty, as recommended by the Committee in its report on measuring poverty in December.
The Committee held an informal session in November with parents with experience of raising children while having NRPF. Representatives from the charities Together with Migrant Children, Project 17 and the Children’s Society also attended. The summary (attached) details the difficulties experienced by families in NRPF circumstances, including with the process of applying for change of conditions to access public funds.
Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said: “We have heard first-hand the harrowing stories of the hardships many children are facing, the lack of help given to their parents, despite their legal right to live and work in the country, and the fight families face for support even when they are eligible.
With no decision yet on whether to make the lifeline of free school meals permanent, and no commitment to assess poverty among children in families with NRPF, the Government has pressing questions to answer.
Our session with the three ministers will be a chance to examine in detail the approach being taken across Government and whether enough is being done to support so many families who are facing destitution.”
As a condition of their visa, most categories of migrants in the UK have NRPF, meaning that they and their children are unable to claim benefits. The Children’s Society has estimated that more than one million people have NRPF, including nearly 150,000 children, of whom some are British citizens.
The inquiry is examining how the number of children with NRPF can be better measured, how many are living in poverty and the support that is available to families facing financial hardship. It will also look at the impact of the Covid pandemic on children with NRPF.
The Committee held a session with charities and local authorities in October. It has also previously written to the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary about the lack of support available during the coronavirus pandemic for people with NRPF.
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