The UK Government policy of re-instating the No Recourse to Public Funds policy after the Coronavirus pandemic is “utterly inhumane” a Scottish Government minister has said.

Kevin Stewart, housing minister, said it is the greatest barrier to ending homelessness and rough sleeping in Scotland.

Ms Stewart told the Scottish Parliament Local Government Committee he and Scottish officials had been in constant communications with the UK Government throughout the crisis and wanted the policy to be lifted.

No Recourse to Public Funds applies to categories of people who are “subject to immigration control” who are not permitted to have resources from government or council spent on them.

It includes people who are in the UIK on a spouse visa, student visa, or on limited leave granted under family or private life rules.

It also includes (for five years) those with indefinite leave to remain as the adult dependent relative of a person with settled status.

It also includes visa overstayers and illegal entrants.

It also applies to some European Economic Area migrants depending on their status and some refused asylum seekers depending on family circumstances.

Ms Stewart said: “We hoped the UK Government would change the No Recourse to Public Funds policy."

However, he added: "The UK Government seems adamant it is bringing back the No Recourse to Public Funds policy which is utterly inhumane. It means ourselves have to work around this policy. It is absolutely awful."

He said the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, seemed to not understand the full effect of the policy when asked about it at Westminster and said Mr Johnson was “horrified when he was told what it meant”.

Many of the people currently housed in hotels in Glasgow by the council and Scottish Governemnt fall under the policy and can’t be moved on into settled accommodation.

Mr Stewart said: “We will continue to lobby, campaign and argue with the UK Government on its No Recourse to Public Funds policy. This is the biggest barrier we have in terms of trying to end rough sleeping.”

He added: “Many of those with No Recourse to Public Funds have come  to live and work here and for whatever reason are on their uppers and they need our help and we can’t help them, that’s wrong.

"I can’t understand any government being as inhumane as the UK Government is. I hope they re-think this.”