The City of Sanctuary Local Authority Network is greatly concerned about the impact of the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) policy generally, however this concern has been exacerbated given that the COVID pandemic has disproportionately affected people who are subject to the NRPF condition.
In March 2021, at a Network meeting on the theme of NRPF, councils shared the experiences of the impact of NRPF on people living in their communities. It is evident that people with NRPF are disproportionately likely to work in sectors worst affected by the economic crisis and be faced with redundancy (especially when the furlough scheme comes to end). It is also apparent that there is a disproportionate impact of NRPF on people from minority backgrounds. At this meeting it was reported that councils had already experienced an increase in the amount of people subject to NRPF conditions accessing food banks and other essential items such as clothing – and they very much expected this situation to continue.
The Network is also still very concerned that COVID still remains a threat to public safety and many people with NRPF conditions are likely to be unable to afford to self-isolate and find themselves in debt (especially rent arrears leading to homelessness).
Whilst the Network welcomed the Home Secretary’s announcement that people can apply to NRPF conditions lifted, the reality is that many people find this difficult, or indeed impossible as they don’t have access to legal advice. Councils also noted that longer-term support is likely to be needed for many of those accommodated under ‘everyone in’.
The following draft statement has been produced and is awaiting sign off (we will update this post once it is signed off).
We will encourage councils to adopt the statement as appropriate, to inform their own council strategies and to write to relevant ministers and local MPs: