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Launching the Every Child Should Benefit Campaign outside Parliament

Launching the Every Child Should Benefit Campaign outside Parliament

On 6 June, 130 primary school pupils, teachers, parents, students, and leaders from Citizens UK gathered in Victoria Tower Gardens to launch a new campaign demanding that every child in the UK receives Child Benefit, no matter where their parents were born.

Children and community leaders from Citizens UK stand during a protest outside Parliament, holding colourful banners that say 'Every child should benefit'

What is the problem?

The Migration Observatory estimates that 180,000 children in the UK live with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF). This is a condition attached to visas which denies families’ access to benefits and the social safety net, even when they are working and paying tax. This means 180,000 children are growing up under a welfare ban, due to where their parents were born.

Families do not even receive Child Benefit, which is £24 each week for the first child, and £15.90 for any subsequent children. This adds up to at least £1,248 per year for a family with one child, and £2,074.80 for a family with two. Many parents will have NRPF for 10 years - the majority of a childhood.

How did it start?

Ahead of the campaign launch, students from the IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society listened to school pupils across London, including in Barking & Dagenham, Brent, Islington, Newham, Southwark, Lewisham, and Lambeth. They visited 8 primary and secondary schools, engaging with children to understand what challenges they faced and the support they need.

Speaking to 100s of children across the capital highlighted the urgency to extend eligibility for Child Benefit. Pupils growing up in families with NRPF openly shared their experiences of their families struggling to afford essential needs such as food and clothing in the cost-of-living crisis. When asked how they would utilise the additional £24 per week, the majority of children said they would spend it on food and maintaining their households. 

The students’ Action Research Report ‘Why Every Child Should Benefit: Insights from 8 London Schools’ can be found here.

Just as a child needs a hot lunch, irrespective of their parents’ immigration status, they also need Child Benefit, that extra bit of financial support that the government recognise is essential for children to flourish. Amber Lyseight, Mental Health & Pastoral Lead at Grinling Gibbons and Lucas Vales Primary schools in Lewisham and leader involved in the campaign

Having at least £24 a week extra would make such a difference for us. It’s the difference between taking our children to after school activities like swimming, or not. It would help with the precarious housing situations many of us are in. The Home Office says that they will not wait for children of migrant families to become destitute before intervening, but this is what we are seeing in the case of NRPF families. Our children are suffering. Nori, a mum-of-two and parent leader in the campaign, currently facing NRPF

What is next?

The next step for the team of parents, pupils, school, and community leaders running this campaign is to engage MPs and Local Authority Leaders to build support for the issue.

Get in touch with Albinia Stanley if you want to get involved!

Posted by Lauren Del Fabbro on 5 Jul, 2023