By Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2625

Migrant children denied free school meals under harsh Tory regulations

This article is over 5 years, 7 months old
Issue 2625
Children of migrants are losing out (Pic: The Liverpool School of English/Flickr)

The children of refugees and migrants are going hungry because of the Tories’ racist immigration policies.

Children can have free school meals if their parents are claiming some types of benefits, including in-work, out of work and disability benefits.

The policy was supposed to stop the children of the poorest people in society going hungry.

But the Tories’ “hostile environment” for migrants means that thousands of children are denied this support.

Many migrants from outside the European Union (EU) are hit by “no recourse to public funds” provision under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Those affected include people who have come to Britain in the hope of gaining asylum.

Refugees can apply for financial support if they are applying for asylum status for the first time. This means that many children of asylum seekers can access free school meals.

Often this can be a much?needed lifeline as asylum seekers only have access to meagre funds. Asylum seekers are not allowed to work in Britain—and they are only given £37.75 a week for each person in a household.

Around 39,132 people are receiving this sort of support.


Asylum seekers can go through a tortuous process of appeals if their claims are denied by the Home Office.

While they can reapply, support drops to £35.89 a week and it is much harder to make it through the means testing. Only 2,890 people were receiving it at the beginning of this year.

This leaves many “failed” asylum seekers living in destitution and their children without any ability to access free school meals.

Refugees are one of the hardest hit groups, but the Tories’ racist policies affect a much wider section of migrants.

Those who fall under the “no recourse to public funds” provision include a person who has come on a spouse visa from outside of the EU.

If you’re an international student with a child, you won’t be able to claim financial assistance for you or the child.

There has been a kick back among some Labour-run councils and head teachers against the Tories’ nasty policy.

And some schools have been raiding departmental budgets to pay for the meals. This is partly because of work by refugee campaigners and parents.

It’s good that some local politicians and school bosses have pledged to deal with the scandal. But they shouldn’t have to use money from elsewhere.

The Tories should be forced to stump up the money and drop their racist immigration policies.

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