The outcome of an annual review by the Home Office into support payments given to people on asylum support will see an increase in payments of just 17p a day.
In its 2021 review of the financial allowances provided to support destitute asylum seekers and people refused asylum under section 95 and 4(2) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, the Home Office has decided that the standard weekly level of the allowance will be increased from £39.63 to £40.85 for each supported person.
This is very disappointing news for many of those who work with, who are some of the most vulnerable people in society. For decades the low rate of asylum support has left people seeking asylum with a daily struggle to get by, unable to afford even basic essentials such as food, clothing and sanitary products.
All but a tiny minority of people seeking asylum are banned from working while waiting on a decision on their asylum claim, meaning they have no means whatsoever to supplement their income and must struggle to survive on just £40 a week.
At a time of rising inflation and with it a steep rise in the cost of living, people seeking asylum are at even greater risk of falling behind.
What is more, current Home Office backlogs mean that people remain in the asylum system for extended periods, living on £40 a week for months, if not years, while they wait for news of their fate.
Andy Hewett, Head of Advocacy at the Refugee Council, said:
“Today’s announcement amounts to an increase of just 17 pence a day for people living hand to mouth, constantly struggling to afford even basic essentials – at a time when the cost of living is rising sharply.
“The sad reality is that every penny makes a difference to people seeking asylum, and whilst we welcome any increase, the fact remains this tiny increase is simply not good enough. We urge the government to do more to ensure people seeking asylum are able to support themselves and their families.”