Today, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a Spending Review that sets out how public services will be funded from April 2021.

Key points:

  • No additional funding for refugee and asylum support services
  • No details on refugee resettlement
  • No change on the two-child limit or benefit cap
  • Aid budget will reduce from 0.7% of GDP to 0.5%, representing a £5bn cut to overseas aid.

Seb Klier, Parliamentary Manager at the Refugee Council, said:

“It’s very disappointing to see refugees and people seeking asylum sidelined yet again, at home and overseas, in a budget that does nothing to address the additional challenges this group faces during and after the pandemic.

This Spending Review was an opportunity to set out a comprehensive funding plan to address long-standing issues the refugee and asylum sector have been campaigning on throughout 2020. The opportunity has now been missed, as the review fails to address critical issues, notably the two-child limit and benefit cap, refugee and asylum support services, and refugee resettlement. This should have been the point at which the Chancellor set out a fully costed plan to restart resettlement and commit to welcoming 5,000 refugees a year into the UK from 2021. Instead, resettlement support services across England remain in the dark as to when they can restart their crucial work.

We’re deeply concerned by the £5bn cut to the aid budget, particularly in a year when forced displacement is at a record high across the globe. It’s crucial that we support refugees in the UK and overseas, and in order to this the government must stand by its manifesto commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP on aid and development.” 

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