24 Apr 2020


A group of esteemed personalities from the film and theatre world have written to the Home Secretary to ask her to end the restrictions that prevent thousands of migrants in the UK from accessing vital support.

Dame Emma Thompson, Miriam Margolyes OBE, Sir Tom Stoppard CBE and Thandie Newton OBE have written to Priti Patel in support of The Children’s Society’s campaign calling on the government to suspend ‘No recourse to public funds’ during the Coronavirus crisis.

The harsh immigration policy prevents migrant families, who have not yet qualified for permanent residency in the UK, from accessing essential support like Universal Credit, tax credits, child and housing benefits, even if their children were born in the UK.

The open letter from the actors, who all feel strongly about the issue, says it is vital that everyone should be eligible for government support and no one is left to fend for themselves during the global health crisis.

The Children’s Society’s campaign highlights the range of families that might be affected: from victims of trafficking, criminal, sexual and domestic exploitation, to families or single parents juggling various low paid or zero-hour contract jobs. Some will even be the frontline NHS heroes, the nurses, carers and care home staff Britain is counting on.

Dame Emma Thompson says:

“No child should be disadvantaged or discriminated against simply because of the immigration status of their parents, yet the NRPF condition does just that. It can have a devastating effect on families, leaving children exposed to cruel levels of poverty and even destitution. That is why I believe it is imperative that our government shows decency and humanity and ensures these families have somewhere to turn if they lose their income due to the Coronavirus.”

Mark Russell, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

“We are honoured to have such well respected artists giving their support to our campaign and to families who are suffering. We are all in this situation together, but we have to make sure no-one is left behind. Without urgent action from the government, many of these families, already vulnerable to financial shocks, will face crippling poverty. The Government must step in and provide an urgent lifeline for all, regardless of their immigration status.”

The full letter can be read here. To show your support for our campaign please click here.



Notes to editors

  • The Children’s Society is a national charity that works with the most vulnerable children and young people in Britain today. We listen. We support. We act. Because no child should feel alone.


The Children’s Society Emergency Coronavirus Appeal:  

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  • The Coronavirus crisis has put vulnerable children in even more danger. Lockdown means they are hidden from view and trapped at home, at risk of abuse and neglect and without the vital support they need. The Children's Society offers some children their only lifeline. Please help by donating to its emergency Coronavirus Appeal. 

Donate today, online at: www.childrenssociety.org.uk/lifeline 

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