An estimated 5,900 children in England and Wales are living on as little as £1 a day because Europe’s open borders and an influx of economic migrants from further afield has allowed parents to travel to the United Kingdom without due care and consideration over how they would support their families upon arrival.
The children of poor migrants suffer “severe poverty and hunger” reports The Independent, with a number of migrant parents giving birth in the UK after their arrival despite their destitution, so their children hold British passports despite all else.
Many of those worst affected are economic migrants who are waiting for the Home Office to make a judgement on their immigration cases. During this period they are forbidden from working or receiving government benefit, but having arrived without savings are forced to subside on charity and hand-outs.
Although some have called for the government to subsidise new arrivals, which in some cases could run to three years of government support for families, a spokesman for the Home Office replied that support was already available from local authorities rather than the central government:
“We welcome those who wish to make a life in the UK with their family, work hard and make a contribution. But family life must not be established here at the taxpayer’s expense.
“We work closely with local authorities to ensure that immigration decisions in cases receiving local authority support are made as quickly as possible.”
“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”.
According to the Independent report, many families affected are from Nigeria and Jamaica, giving the example of one young mother who had been abandoned by the British-citizen father of her child. She was, according to migrant charity RAMFEL feeding herself and her two children on £5 a week, having chosen to remain in the UK after turning down the opportunity to return to Jamaica, the country of her birth, with her mother.