Duty to commission an independent evaluation: health and social care sectors

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:45 pm on 30th June 2020.

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Photo of Holly Lynch Holly Lynch Shadow Minister (Home Office) 2:45 pm, 30th June 2020

My right hon. Friend, alongside the Chair of the Home Affairs Committee, has done an awful lot of work in this area, not least with the support of the Prime Minister. In response to his question about NRPF on 27 May, the Prime Minister said:

“Clearly people who have worked hard for this country, who live and work here, should have support…we will see what we can do to help”.

My right hon. Friend was right to raise this important point. The Children’s Society estimates that about 1 million people and at least 100,000 children have no recourse to public funds. Although new clause 13 has been drafted to sit within the scope of the Bill, it would start to deliver on the spirit of the Prime Minister’s commitment.

Local authorities have already had instructions from central Government to this effect. On 26 March, Ministers from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government wrote to all councils asking them to utilise alternative powers and funding to assist those with no recourse to public funds. People are, however, still facing destitution and a postcode lottery at the discretion of their local authority without a clear steer from the Home Office. With this in mind, we hope that new clause 13 will have the support of the House. It would prevent any extension of this condition to those who would lose their free movement rights for the course of the pandemic, and would ensure that NRPF could not be re-imposed without a proper parliamentary debate and a vote in both Houses.