A scheme that provides free food to infants from migrant backgrounds has been extended. This agreement made by the health secretary comes following a claim set for further judicial review.
Mathew Gold & Co issued judicial review proceedings in December which challenged the government’s ‘health Start Scheme’ eligibility criteria.
Included in the programme is free vitamins, nutritional advice and weekly food vouchers to families of low income with pregnant women and children up to the age of four.
According to MG & Co, the eligibility criteria excluded a number of the UK’s poorest children due to the fact they have migrant backgrounds and that their families are unable to claim mainstream benefits.
Consequentially, the claim accused the scheme of being inconsistent and indirectly discriminatory towards children and mothers from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.
The High Court granted permission in February for the challenge to progress to an expedited final trial.
MG & Co disclosed that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care agreed prior to the hearing to extend the eligibility criteria, and to hold a consultation this coming winter.
Meanwhile the firm said that the government will offer families in this position the opportunity to access support by way of an ex gratia benefit.
Associate solicitor at MG & Co Olivia Halse, remarked: ‘This is a great outcome for some of the most disadvantaged children in our society who should have never been excluded from accessing this essential support in the first place.’
However, Halse simultaneously warned that the ‘no recourse to public funds’ limit on benefit claims ‘continues to exclude thousands of disadvantaged children and families from migrant backgrounds from a whole host of vital services’.