The Church of England is to accuse the government of forcing asylum seekers into destitution and setting the minimum wage too low to relieve poverty, reports the Sunday Times.
The criticisms are found, according to the newspaper, in a leaked version of the report 'Faithful Cities', due to be published on May 22.
The document reportedly accuses the government of trying to use deprivation as a way of deterring refugees from seeking asylum status.
It states: ìIt is unacceptable to use destitution as a tool of coercion when dealing with refused asylum seekers.î
The report has been written by the churchís Commission on Urban Life and Faith. It comes 21 years after the landmark Faith in the City report, a critique of the social policy of Margaret Thatcherís government which led to accusations by Government ministers that some of the report's advocates were 'Marxist'.
In a preface to the report, Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, says that while riches and opportunities have grown since Faith in the City, the two decades had also brought ìfear, racial tension and the tendency to treat neighbours as strangersî.
The report is to call for asylum seekers to be allowed to sustain themselves and contribute to society through paid work.
At present, asylum seekers are not allowed to work for the first 12 months during the consideration of their application and those refused asylum are not entitled to any benefits.
The new report was written in part by John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York. It will tell the government that it ìmust lead rather than follow public opinion on immigration, refugees and asylum policyî.
The report will make it clear Britain has an international, moral and legal responsibility to welcome those fleeing adversity from other parts of the world and to provide social security.
This Friday, three days ahead of the report, Rowan Williams is planning to lead a debate in the House of Lords to focus attention on the life of the church in towns and cities.
Williams hopes the report will make the same kind of impact as Faith in the City.
The report will also call on the government to implement a ìliving wageî rather than a minimum wage.
One source, who helped draft the report, said: ìAlthough the minimum was a promising development, the level at which it is set is not a living wage.î
The report will say that the minimum wage, introduced by Labour in 1999 and currently worth £5.05 per hour for those aged 22 and over, does not meet basic needs reports the Sunday Times.