Government slashes support to asylum seekers awaiting a decision - Refugee Council
July 30, 2009

Government slashes support to asylum seekers awaiting a decision

The government has announced that it is cutting its cash support to destitute asylum seekers waiting for a decision. Currently, single asylum seekers over the age of 25 receive £42.16 a week, which is 30% less than a single person over the age of 25 who is resident in the UK. The government is planning to reduce this to £35.15 per week from October, leaving asylum seekers with only £5 per day to live on.

This is despite the consumer price index, which measures inflation, standing at 5.2%, which means that overall destitute single asylum seekers aged 25 or over will be more than £9 per week worse off.

Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

“We are appalled that the government has moved to cut support to asylum seekers, who are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Of course, these are hard times for everybody and no-one should receive preferential treatment. But asylum seekers who are destitute only receive 70% of income support as it is, and are not allowed to work. These changes mean they will receive a little over half of what the government says is the minimum people need to live on.

“The number of asylum seekers to the UK has dropped dramatically in the last few years, and we must remember that many of these people have experienced torture, persecution and human rights abuses and most live in already deeply impoverished circumstances. Surely a more practical solution would be to allow those that can to work, and contribute to the growth of our economy, rather than penalising the poorest and most vulnerable?”