Responding to the possibility that support may be withdrawn from asylum seekers not taking up Home Office accommodation, Nick Hardwick, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“There are lots of people who have somewhere to live with family or friends but depend on a modest weekly support (currently in vouchers) to survive. Ministers have said that they are going to completely withdraw such support.
If this is allowed to happen, people who don’t require accommodation will be forced to take it up as their only means of survival. This may also mean that traumatised people fleeing persecution could end up hundreds of miles away from family and friends.
“Such a change would waste taxpayers’ money on accommodation when people already have somewhere to stay. This also contradicts pledges made by the Government to tackle social exclusion and integrate marginal communities.
“If asylum-seekers able to provide their own accommodation lose their support, this will place even more pressure on the impoverished inner-city communities willing to help them out.”
Note to Editor:
At the moment, asylum seekers who do not need accommodation are entitled to £36.54 a week in vouchers. This is known as the ‘support only’ package. Last year, the Government made a commitment to replace vouchers with cash by autumn 2002.