Friday, 3 April 2020

UK Single Parents Take Govt To Court

A group of single parents who cannot claim welfare payments because of their migration status are suing the government.
A hearing at the High Court will hear pleas for the restrictions to be lifted due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Lawyers say tens of thousands of people are affected, mainly mothers from commonwealth countries with UK-born children, who work in low-paid jobs.
The Home Office said "nobody should find themselves starving or destitute".

Campaigners say the workers face an "impossible choice": Whether to continue working through the outbreak, putting themselves and others in danger, or stop working and have no means of paying for food, rent or bills.

'Not entitled to anything'

Single mother Zeenab, a carer who looks after adults with epilepsy, has had to reduce her hours to look after her seven-year-old son since schools were shut last month to help limit the spread of coronavirus.

As a key worker she is entitled to continuing childcare but her son's school said they can only provide two days a week.

She says she has been forced to cut her working hours from around 50 a week to just 12 and now takes home £300 a month after deductions and transport costs.

"I don't know what I'll do," she said.

"In a few weeks I won't have enough for food or rent and I'm really worried.

"I love my job. I'm hard working. I want to work and I pay taxes but I'm not entitled to anything."Since the outbreak began almost one million people have applied for the benefit.The government has said workers affected by the coronavirus crisis should claim universal credit.
But so-called "no recourse to public funds" rules attached to certain immigration statuses mean some are not entitled to state support.
Zeenab, originally from Sierra Leone, came to the UK in 2007 and gave birth to her son in 2012.
She has limited leave to remain and so cannot claim any state benefits like child allowance or universal credit.
She is now part of a group of single parents challenging the restrictions at the High Court on Friday.
If they succeed, the "no recourse to public funds" policy would be suspended, ahead of a full court hearing where the parents will argue that it should be permanently scrapped because it discriminates against women and ethnic minorities.

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