Fiona Mactaggart, MP for Slough today quizzed the Prime Minister over the plight of Slough residents who had been living in Sierra Leone and returned to escape the Ebola outbreak who have found themselves without any financial support in the UK.
Fiona said, “Mr and Mrs Mahmood asked me for help at the beginning of October. Knowing that they can’t be the only people affected in this way, I acted swiftly to ask the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to provide them with access to basic benefits. But they failed to provide clear answers.
"When the Secretary of State for Health made a statement to the House of Commons on Ebola, he promised to get me an answer. None came. It was only when I threatened to ask the Prime Minister that I got a response and that response upheld the original decision to refuse all benefits to my constituents.
“Mr and Mrs Mahmood have been told they will not be eligible for any support because they haven’t been "habitually resident" or living in the UK for at least 3 months.
“It used to be possible when British People were advised for their safety to come back from a foreign country, for an exception to be made to this rule. But this Government abolished that provision.
“It is not right that people should have to choose between contracting a deadly disease or borrow from friends and family to pay for daily needs.
“I would choose to get out and people who spend their savings to flee a danger like this should not face destitution on their return.”