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by Liam Kirkaldy
20 March 2020
Charities urge UK Government to suspend Home Office evictions

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Charities urge UK Government to suspend Home Office evictions

A group of homelessness, refugee support and human rights charities have come together to call for urgent government action to help people experiencing destitution in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, over 60 charities, including the Scottish Refugee Council, Crisis, Refugee Action and Freedom from Torture, urged the government to suspend all evictions from Home Office asylum support accommodation, alongside action to ensure everyone can safely self-isolate, regardless of immigration status.

The charities called for an end to NHS charges, while the letter also urges Boris Johnson to take action to remove the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) conditions for all migrants, so they can access Universal Credit and Statutory Sick Pay where needed.

They said anyone applying for section 95, section 4 or schedule 10 support through the Home Office should be automatically accommodated while applications are being processed and that any decisions to reject applications should not be actioned until after the current health emergency has passed.

The groups called for any introduction of a Universal Basic Income or Universal Self-Isolation Pay to include everyone, including those with NRPF.

Hazel Williams, national director of the No Accommodation Network, the charity which coordinated the letter, said: “As the Covid-19 pandemic intensifies, night shelters, housing projects and essential drop-in day services around the country for migrants experiencing destitution and homelessness are struggling to offer effective support to this very vulnerable group. Many of the people we work with are unable to access housing and basic food supplies.”

“To effectively combat the spread of Covid-19, it’s critical that we enable every member of society to self-isolate, seek healthcare and access basic provisions. The emergency public health measures put in place by the government do not work unless they apply to every single person living in our communities. This is for the benefit of all, and we’re calling on the government to make these crucial changes to ensure that everyone’s health is protected at this very challenging time, with no exceptions.”

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