On 23rd July 2019 Baroness Lister of Burtersett (Lab) asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact on children of the no recourse to public funds immigration condition”. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, research by the Children’s Society shows that this particular group of children is more likely to experience absolute poverty, homelessness and greater levels of domestic violence. Despite the significant evidence about the damage that poverty, destitution and abuse can have on children’s outcomes, the Home Office has not yet made public how many children are subject to these NRPF [no recourse to public funds] conditions on their families’ leave to remain. Will the Minister commit to making these figures publicly available?
Baroness Williams of Trafford: I am not in a position to make the figures publicly available. However, where children are involved, families may qualify for support from local authorities under Section 17 of the Children Act. It is very difficult to substantiate some of the claims made in the report without knowing the cases. I do not decry what the right reverend Prelate says: we have an absolute duty to children in our care and our communities.
Baroness Hamwee (LD): My Lords, following the right reverend Prelate’s question, does the Minister agree that it is important to know how many children are affected? We cannot take policy decisions without underlying information. Does she recognise that there are probably tens of thousands of British-born children —or children eligible to apply for British citizenship—who do not have access to public funds? Is this the right way to treat fellow Britons? How does it affect integration and cohesion?