Government to increase asylum seekers' support by 80 pence a week

By agency reporter
January 16, 2018

The Home Office has revealed that it will increase the financial support provided to people seeking asylum by just 80 pence a week.

After a period of consultation, the Home Office published the findings of its 2017 review into the cash allowance provided to people seeking asylum. Despite calls to make a much more significant increase in the level of support, the Home Office has said the rise should be from £36.95 per week to £37.75 per week. This change will take effect from 5 February 2018.

Refugee Action responded to the consultation and argued that the cash allowance for people seeking sanctuary should be no less than 70 per cent of mainstream benefits.

Mariam Kemple-Hardy, head of campaigns at Refugee Action, said, “We acknowledge that the Government has responded to a consultation on the rate of asylum support by a small increase of 80p a week.

“But with soaring inflation and no increase to asylum support over the past three years, this should have gone much further – to at least 70 per cent of mainstream benefits.

“More people seeking asylum are waiting longer for their asylum claim to be processed. During this time, which in some cases can be years, people are left unable to work and struggling to survive on just over £5.00 a day.

“This takes a tremendous toll on the wellbeing of people who have fled conflict and persecution. Expecting people to survive on so little is incompatible with a compassionate asylum system.”

Also responding to the news, the Refugee Council’s Director of Advocacy, Dr Lisa Doyle said, “People seeking asylum, barred from working to support themselves and frequently new to the UK, are wholly reliant on government allowances to meet their daily living needs. The long delays currently experienced by many in the asylum system means that families are forced to live on this paltry amount for months, sometimes years on end. Surely a country like ours can do better by people who have survived untold horrors and are trying to rebuild their lives.”

Read the government review here

* Refugee Action

* Refugee Council


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