Migrants and the homeless
The Migrant Rights Network has put out a detailed list of demands to safeguard migrants and the homeless in the epidemic, including:
• The suspension of NHS charging and data-sharing with the Home Office for the purposes of immigration enforcement
• The suspension of “no recourse to public funds” conditions
• The release of everyone detained under immigration powers to reduce the risk of Covid-19 entering the detention estate and causing avoidable harm
• Each local authority must set up a Covid-19 and homelessness taskforce and conduct an urgent needs analysis of the homeless and rough sleeping population in their area
• Local authorities must block book hotels or other suitable accommodation so that homeless or overcrowded individuals and households (including rough sleepers and those who are sofa-surfing) can self-isolate
• Empty homes, council estates facing demolition, private housing developments standing empty and university halls of residence should also be put to this use
• Accommodation must be made available with “light-touch engagement”. Any data collected must not be shared with the Home Office or any agency for the purpose of immigration enforcement.
Freeze utility bills!
The government promises that utility disconnections will be suspended and that people who can’t pay can “contact their supplier for help”.
The Fuel Poverty Network has made these emergency demands:
• Free credit to all prepayment meter users, promptly, so that they are not left in the cold or without power while negotiating with suppliers
• Guarantee that customers in financial distress, including those self-isolating or losing jobs or customers, will have bills reduced to what they can afford – and not just deferred.