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Benefits of scrapping benefits ban for migrants vastly outweigh costs, research suggests

REMOVING a hostile environment policy that prevents many migrants accessing benefits could help generate almost £900 million for society over 10 years, new research suggests. 

More than a million people in Britain are affected by the no recourse to public funds (NRPF) condition, which blocks them from accessing a range of benefits and housing support. 

Research by the London School of Economics, commissioned by the Greater London Authority and published earlier this month, now suggests the benefits of scrapping the policy would far outweigh the costs.

Removing the condition just for households with children and other vulnerable individuals would result in a net gain of £872 million, it found. 

Giving people access to public funds would alleviate financial pressures on local authorities currently using their own resources to support people with NRPF, thus allowing them to invest elsewhere, researchers said. 

It would also boost employment opportunities and help children’s development by protecting them from falling into poverty. 

Report author Kath Scanlon said that the analysis shows “it makes sense economically and socially to provide help from public funds” in some cases. 

In light of these findings, the mayor of London is calling on ministers to make it easier for people to apply to have their NRPF condition removed if they are experiencing financial hardship. 

Praxis, a human rights charity supporting migrants and refugees, said yesterday that the research conclusively demonstrates that the policy “fails in its stated aim of saving money for taxpayers.” 

“Not only does NRPF inflict significant harm on people — especially families with children — it also ends up costing the public purse more than it would cost to simply give people access to benefits when they need them,” public affairs manager Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz said. 


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