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It’s child labourers who will pick up the tab for Johnson’s migration policies

1 85 190
27.02.2020

As soon as Marissa was old enough to walk, she started caring for her mum. Suzanna, 51, who was left with severe spinal damage and arthritis on top of long-term breathing problems after two car accidents. The five-year-old helped her disabled mum to get to their third-floor flat in a block with no lift access; she would hold her mum’s hand as they went up, step by step – all 150 of them. Marissa would bring her water, do the laundry, and shuffle to reach the bottom supermarket shelves.

She would even try to help cook tea: dry pasta and tomatoes. “Marissa would say, ‘Mummy, you have a mouth full of hands, let me help’,” Suzanna says. “She meant ‘you’ve got your hands full’.”

Now 11, Marissa is only a few months into “big school” but is on call for her mum 24/7. Three years ago the council gave Suzanna an allowance for eight hours’ care a week from a personal assistant, but it’s nowhere near enough. Marissa picks up the slack, helping her mum get out of bed in the morning, and chips in with the washing up, cleaning, cooking and shopping.

Marissa is in every way a superstar – “she amazes me”, Suzanna says – but it’s easy to see she’s just a child. “I get upset sometimes because I go online and see all my friends are going to places that I want to go to,” she admits. “They [don’t tell me] about it because they know I can’t go.”

When Boris Johnson announced his new immigration plans last week – said by........

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