Help us create a debt jubilee!
We hope to use this money to cancel the debt incurred by those with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF), in order to then write it off. Normally, when a debt like a loan or a credit card is classified as ‘bad’ debt (i.e. unlikely to be repaid) by a lender it can be bought at a much lower price than the stated value. Our research shows that many NHS trusts struggle to make back more than 20% of the charges they send out. Our argument is that it would be better for them and the patients that are charged, if their debt could be cancelled.
The two debts we are looking to cancel are medical debt - where people have been charged for accessing NHS services in England - and accommodation debt - where people have had to pay for stays in hostels and B+Bs whilst they wait for decisions from the Home Office and other agencies in Scotland.
In this first wave of fundraising, we are offering two sets of beautifully designed Christmas cards (below) in return for your donations. For larger orders, contact us at [email protected]
Why this, why now?
We believe radical generosity and grace are at the heart of the Christian faith – an essential part of following in the footsteps of Jesus. An expression of this radical generosity and grace is the principle of Jubilee – the forgiveness of debts.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has been extremely tough for us all, but none more so than our most vulnerable people. In the UK this includes those with No Recourse to Public Funds - almost all people with limited leave have the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ condition imposed, meaning they cannot use publicly funded services for free, or receive benefits like universal credit. There is a complicated set of exemptions and rules that go alongside the NRPF condition, but as a whole the policies work as part of the Hostile Environment - actively working to make people feel uncomfortable and unsafe in this country.
Unexpected bills for accessing public services like the NHS not only put people into debt, they also impact their ability to claim asylum and residency. During the pandemic, the hostile environment has prevented people accessing medical care when necessary, arguably adding to the disparities in outcomes for people from different ethnic backgrounds.
Calling Mary and Jesus to mind, we will use Advent season as the focus for a national campaign publicly highlighting the issue of NRPF and the hostile environment, telling the stories, and campaigning for change.
We will do this in partnership – amplifying the voices of others already speaking out, such as Maternity Action, Docs Not Cops, Southall Black Sisters and many others.
As Christian activists who care about Jesus and justice, we want to demonstrate the love that Jesus called us to show to others, stand up against the current hostile environment in our country and challenge society’s thinking.
We recognise that the NHS is under unprecedented pressure and the campaign will also give it valuable financial support, while highlighting the ineffectiveness of its current approach to debt. IF for whatever reason we are prevented from buying the debt, money will be redistributed to groups that work to support people with NRPF.