THE UK Government's "no recourse to public funds" (NRPF) policy is "inhumane" and the main barrier to ending homelessness, Scotland's housing minister Kevin Stewart has said.

Some immigrants to the UK are denied financial help under the laws, which were relaxed during the Covid-19 crisis.

However Stewart told a meeting of the Scottish Parliament's Local Government Committee that the UK Government is intent on reapplying the NRPF rules.

He said the policy will prevent the Scottish Government and local councils from helping people at risk of destitution during the pandemic.

Stewart said he had been in "constant correspondence and communication" with the UK Government over the NRPF issue.

He told the committee: "No recourse to public funds will be the greatest barrier in terms of us trying to end homelessness and rough sleeping.

"During the course of the pandemic the no recourse to public funds policies have been put to one side and we have been able to accommodate people, take them off the streets and provide them with the services they require.

"Unfortunately, the UK Government seem adamant on bringing back in all of the no recourse to public funds policies, which in my opinion are completely and utterly inhumane."

Stewart said Boris Johnson had been "rightly horrified" when asked about NRPF, referring to the Prime Minister's appearance at a Commons Liaison Committee meeting in May.

The housing minister added: "He may have been horrified at that committee questioning session but it seems his government are absolutely adamant on bringing all of these inhumane policies back into course."