Vendors and housing benefit – our response

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Last week saw Big Issue vendor Firuta Vasile, who sells the magazine in Bristol, win a court case to claim housing benefit following the ruling by a judge that selling the Big Issue is self employment.

Fay Selvan, chief executive of The Big Life group, which owns The Big Issue in the North said: “We welcome this decision and hope that it sets a precedent for future cases.

“As members of the EU and A2 nationals Romanian Roma are allowed to live in the UK. However work opportunities are limited to certain highly skilled jobs, seasonal agricultural work or being self-employed.

“Anyone who is self-employed or working is entitled to certain benefits, In the case of A2 nationals this is housing benefit and working family tax credits. Selling The Big Issue in the North is genuine self-employment and we would defend anyone’s right to claim a benefit if they are legally entitled to it, regardless of their race.

“When Roma come to The Big Issue in the North they have few ways of earning an income and therefore securing and maintaining a roof over their and their families’ heads.

“As a country we believe it is unacceptable for families to live in poverty – our benefits system supports this – and this support must reach every person and family which we allow to live and work here regardless of race.”

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