Challenge argues policy indirectly discriminates on grounds of race, due to disproportionate impact on black children
High Court hears legal challenge against no recourse to public funds policy brought by 5-year-old born in the UK
18 March 2021
A High Court legal challenge against the Government's no recourse to public funds (NRPF) policy began yesterday and is continuing today.
The case involves a 5-year-old, black British boy, who was born in the UK to a Zimbabwean mother with leave to remain. The family are being supported in the legal challenge by The Unity Project, a charity set up to support those facing destitution due to NRPF.
Deighton Pierce Glynn (DPG) solicitors are acting for the family.
In a statement, DPG said: "Our clients argue, among other things, that the Home Office's policy fails to effectively safeguard and promote the welfare of children and indirectly discriminates on grounds of race, due to its disproportionate impact on black (and non-white) British children and black (or non-white) single mothers. The Home Office denies this and asserts that any indirect discrimination against black British children is justified, apparently, in the interests of immigration control."
DPG says 80% of migrants subjected to NRPF are Asian or African.
DPG's Adam Hundt added: "This policy is creating an underclass of black British children, which is outrageous. The only reason ST, the 5-year-old boy in this case, is being treated differently from his white friends is because his mum came to the UK from somewhere else. We are asking the court for the policy to be quashed and for a public inquiry into NRPF."
Caz Hattam of The Unity Project said in a statement: "The government says NRPF is intended to promote integration, but instead it is making existing inequality and discrimination worse, particularly for black children born in the UK. Many of the people we assist are keyworkers, often doing social care or cleaning jobs, and paying taxes and national insurance, like everyone else - but they are denied the same vital state support as other families. Despite the earlier successful legal challenge to NRPF, the policy continues to mean that children are growing up in the UK without a home or enough to eat. If the government really cares about integration, it should scrap this policy."
A Home Office spokesperson gave a statement to the Guardian saying: "The policy of no recourse to public funds has been upheld by successive governments, and maintains that those seeking to establish their family life in the UK must do so on a basis that prevents burdens on the taxpayer and promotes integration. People with leave under family and human rights routes can apply, free of charge, to have no recourse to public funds conditions lifted."