Low-income Londoners and migrants who can’t claim benefits must get Government support during the coronavirus outbreak, the Mayor of London has said.

Sadiq Khan has today (Monday) written to the Prime Minister, urging him to extend Universal Credit and remove restrictions on claimants.

Although tahe Government has removed the minimum income requirement for Universal Credit so more people impacted by the virus can claim, there is still a five-week wait for the first payment.

Ministers insisted last week that this waiting period would remain in place – despite objections from Labour.


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The Mayor said there has been a “dramatic increase” in the number of Londoners claiming benefits during the pandemic.

Nationally, 477,000 people signed up for Universal Credit in the nine days to 25 March – almost double the total for the highest month of claims last year.

Half of Londoners are very worried about their personal finances, compared to 46 per cent of the country as a whole, according to polling last week.

In his letter, Mr Khan says “the most vulnerable people in our society are being pushed into debt” and calls for a non-repayable day one advance for benefits claimants, to ensure everyone has the money they need.


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But many migrant workers who are made redundant due to Covid-19 can’t claim any benefits at all, if their immigration status is subject to a ‘no recourse to public funds’ condition.

Mr Khan today joined over 30 human rights organisations calling for ‘no recourse to public funds’ to be scrapped during the coronavirus outbreak.

In his letter, he says migrant Londoners who are now out of work are “at real risk of homelessness”.

He said: “I am also particularly concerned about survivors of domestic violence with no recourse to public funds, who will face additional challenges to fleeing abuse and seeking out support during this time.

“They are unable to access the welfare safety net they need, despite paying into the system through taxes.

“These are people who have lived in the UK for many years, often with children born and brought up here.”

The Mayor welcomed the Government’s “vital steps” to slow the spread of coronavirus and support Londoners’ finances.

But he said the most vulnerable people in the capital need further help “now more than ever”.

He added: “Doing so would not only enable people to get the support they need but crucially would help to stop the spread of Covid-19 by those still who feel they have no choice but to go out to work.”


The Government has now (March 23) ordered everyone to stay at home unless absolutely necessary to fight the spread of coronavirus. You can find the latest guidance here. Advice on the virus from Public Health England is available here.