(RT) – Thousands of children in the UK are being pushed into severe poverty and hunger because their parents cannot work or receive government benefits, new research has found.
Changes to government immigration and benefits policies have left a “dysfunctional system,” a report by the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society at the University of Oxford discovered.
Academics found children are the “ultimate losers,” with thousands subsisting on as little as £1 per person per day.
Some families go months without receiving any help, forcing them
to sleep in cars, disused buildings or even on the streets.
Most of the families affected are in the UK legally but are
awaiting a decision from the Home Office regarding their
Some 71 percent of families being helped by local authorities in
2012/13 were awaiting the outcome of their immigration case.
Changes by central government to immigration and welfare benefits
has left thousands of people unable to work or claim state
Parents are forced to rely on financial assistance from local
authorities, which can be as little as £5 a week for a family.
Researchers found that an estimated 3,391 families and 5,900
children were supported by local authorities in this way.
Local governments are legally obliged to protect children in
poverty, but they receive no funding from central government to
meet the costs.
The study was based on a survey of 137 Children’s Services
departments in England and Wales, in addition to 105 voluntary
sector organizations and 92 interviews.
Co-author of the report Jonathan Price said: “There is a real
tension between the desire to keep these people out of the
welfare state and the legal obligation that falls on local
“There is a question to be asked about the long-term impact
on children of living on subsistence rates that are well below
Rita Chadha, chief executive of the Refugee and Migrant Forum of
Essex and London, said: “We see at least one client a day in
“They come in extremely distressed. We’ve seen children
sleeping in church graveyards and disused shops. In many cases
councils won’t give families money until prompted to by other
A Home Office spokeswoman said the government welcomed those who
wish to make a life in the UK, but “family life must not be
established here at the taxpayer’s expense.”
The spokeswoman also said: “We work closely with local
authorities to ensure that immigration decisions in cases
receiving local authority support are made as quickly as
She added: “In exceptional circumstances, or where people
granted leave on family grounds show that they would otherwise be
destitute, they are granted recourse to public funds.”
This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license.