Friday, August 14, 2020

Feeding Hungry Children

Thousands of children from migrant families are at risk of hunger when schools reopen in the UK unless the free meal provision is extended, according to a group of 60 organisations.  They are calling free school meals to be extended to pupils from low-income migrant families classed as having “no recourse to public funds”. The organisations are concerned that when this help is withdrawn, thousands of children will lose out on what could be their only nutritious meal of the day.

Sam Royston, director of policy and research for the Children’s Society, said: “It is unacceptable that thousands of children, whose lives have already been turned upside down by the pandemic, could lose out on free school meals...whether a child is able to eat should not depend on their parents’ immigration status.”

The condition of “no recourse to public funds” or NRPF is imposed on migrants who have not qualified for permanent residency in the UK. It prevents their accessing essential support, including free school meals.

An estimated 175,643 non-EEA citizens under the age of 18 lived in families given the NRPF condition. The classification disproportionately affects black and minority ethnic groups and removes the safety net of welfare support from families likely to be already struggling financially, bearing additional costs such as fees for “leave to remain” applications.

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