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Is the £350 for those who host people fleeing Ukraine a PUBLIC FUND?

clive
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Newcastle Council Welfare Rights

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Host has NRPF

Here in this guidance for example, the gov say the £350 “… is a payment of local welfare provision made by local authorities therefore ignored by means tested benefits.

A4/2022: The Social Security (Habitual Residence) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 and the Homes for Ukraine Scheme - GOV.UK (http://www.gov.uk)

but ” local welfare assistance”  is classed as a public fund

I know we may not be using the same wording but its a concern as the guidance was saying it in relation to it not being treat as income but don’t want to jeopardise the host’s situation

clive
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Newcastle Council Welfare Rights

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Anyone any thoughts?

Elliot Kent
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Shelter

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I dunno. The funding sits in an awkward non-category. The HB Memo which describes it as ‘local welfare provision’ is I think a bit of a fudge which invokes similar language to the public funds guidance. Perhaps the Home Office would also fudge it so as not to class the payments as public funds in line with the intention generally to make the scheme operate as widely as possible.

I think the question of whether acceptance of a particular payment would put the claimant in breach of an NRPF condition is really a question of immigration law. I would therefore refer it to a qualified person, but I know that whenever I have asked an immigration adviser about anything on the borderlines of being a public fund, the advice has been to avoid claiming it unless absolutely necessary.

clive
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Thanks Elliot. Yes, probably the best advice generally but given its Ukrainian situation - I’m wondering if the gov may actually state they won’t treat it as a public fund. So may be the way to find out (if it hasn’t already been stated) is to ask an MP to ask the question in Parliament. So - unless someone posts on here soon - I’m going to ask elsewhere, then if still no joy, will ask an MP. Thanks again Elliot

Martin Williams
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Hi Clive,

Think I probably also spoke to a colleague of yours re this.

The only part of the definition it could fall into in England the Immigration Rules (see definition in the interpretation section) is this bit:

Public Funds” means
[....]
(i) a discretionary payment made by a local authority under section 1 of the Localism Act 2011, not including any payment made under the Energy Rebate Scheme 2022

I would be interested to see any guidance issued by the Government to local authorities on the circumstances and conditions under which these payments are to be made- it seems to me that this guidance may make it clear that paying the sum is not a question of “discretion” but is instead a rule based decision (ie person to whom payment is made is providing suitable accommodation etc). Certainly, this page: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions does not seem to indicate that whether or not payment is made is a question of discretion- instead it implies that provided the checks are passed the payment will be made. Similarly with this guidance on requirements sponsors must meet: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-sponsor-guidance And this guidance to LAs: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-guidance-for-councils#application-process As none of that guidance suggests an LA has a discretion on whether to make the payment- rather it is a question simply of whether the suitability conditions are met in which case the payment must be made, I would have thought there is a relatively strong argument that the payment is not “discretionary” as required by the Immigration Rules and therefore not a public fund.

I also agree a PQ would be useful.

Martin

clive
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Newcastle Council Welfare Rights

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Thank you Martin