Covid-19: Disparate Impact - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:21 pm on 27th October 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Green 6:21 pm, 27th October 2020

My Lords, in response to the Front Bench contributions, the Minister said we do not have evidence of the reason for these disparities. I am sure she is aware of the report published by Citizens Advice in June that nearly 1.4 million people in the UK have no access to welfare payments because they have a “no recourse to public funds” status. Research conducted by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford found that “no recourse to public funds” falls disproportionately on people in the BAME community. Some 82% of people who were helped with a “no recourse to public funds” issue by Citizens Advice in the last year were from a BAME background.

People with “no recourse to public funds” status have difficult choices: they have to risk exposing themselves or simply having no money. Is there not clear evidence that “no recourse to public funds” is discriminatory, and is indeed a structurally racist policy? Further, do the Government have, or are they planning to secure, data on the death and infection rates for people with “no recourse to public funds” compared to those for otherwise similar individuals?