Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer presented his Autumn Budget and Spending Review to Parliament. In response to the announcement Lisa Doyle, Director of Advocacy & Engagement said:
“Government has failed to get its priorities right on refugee policy today. While it has been happy to spend millions on drones to track the English Channel, there is no long-term commitment to refugee resettlement, to ensure refugees fleeing regimes like the Taliban can arrive safely in the UK.
Funding is also desperately needed to tackle the record-high backlog of asylum cases awaiting an initial decision, meaning vulnerable people are in some cases waiting for years with their lives on hold. Yet nothing announced today will do anything to improve our system of refugee protection, or to ensure that refugees are better able to integrate when they do receive refugee status.
The Government should ensure that local authorities have sufficient resources over the long term to be able to support people seeking asylum in our communities and ensure that refugees can move smoothly into mainstream public services, as well as give unaccompanied children all the support they need.
In fact, proposals to criminalise asylum, and to increase the waiting time for those seeking protection in the UK, as set out in the Government’s current Nationality and Borders Bill, will only lead to a more expensive and inefficient system. Government should prioritise protection over deterrence, to both maintain the UK’s record of supporting refugees, and to ensure our asylum system is cost-effective at the same time.”