The government has announced that it will increase the amount of cash support for asylum seekers by 1.1% across the board from April 2010.
Since the government made significant cuts to the amount of support asylum seekers receive in October last year, the Refugee Council and its supporters and partners have campaigned tirelessly for this to be increased.
The recent decision will mean that destitute adult asylum seekers who ask for support will now receive £35.52 per week. Although this amount is a little over half of what the government says a person needs to live on, and will still leave many people struggling to survive, it is due to the efforts of our campaigners and partners that the government has chosen not to freeze or cut support rates at a time when debate is focussed on cuts to public services.
The Refugee Council and partners will continue to campaign for asylum seekers to be allowed to work to support themselves, and for those who cannot work to be given enough money to live in dignity until they get status or leave the country.
Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council says:
“Thanks to the efforts of our campaigners and partners, we are pleased the government has heeded our campaign to increase support for asylum seekers. However, there is still a long way to go, and while we are pleased the rates have not been frozen or cut, it is absolutely unacceptable that these people are still forced to live on so little. People come to the UK fleeing violence and persecution to seek safety, but find they are forced to survive on just £5 a day and are not allowed to work.
“We know that public spending is under pressure and people across the country are suffering from the effects of the recession, but it is totally unjust to allow some of the most vulnerable people in our society to continue to live in poverty. Those seeking protection must be able to live in dignity until they are granted status or return home, and those who are able must be allowed to work to support themselves.”