Asylum support rates will push people further into poverty, says Refugee Council

Refugee Council has criticised the government’s decision to leave unchanged the levels of cash support paid to asylum seekers.

The move will push thousands of people further into poverty, Refugee Council said.

The Home Office has published a review of current asylum support rates. In its review, the Home Office defends the levels of support currently paid to asylum seekers, just over £5 a day, saying it enables people to meet their essential living needs.

Refugee Council said this does not reflect the experience of asylum seekers that they see every day.

“We know that current levels of support pushes vulnerable people further into poverty and ill health,” Refugee Council said.

The Home Office’s review concludes that asylum seekers need to spend just £0.55 a week on healthcare, £1.08 on toiletries and £3.00 for travel costs.

“While the Home Office acknowledged that the current clothing allowance for asylum seekers was not sufficient – many people arrive with only the clothes on their back, completely unprepared for British winters – it did nothing to address the shortfall in its review. Instead, it promised to explore other avenues for meeting this need; leaving people to suffer in the meantime,” Refugee Council said.

Since asylum seekers are not allowed to work, they are wholly reliant on the Government for support.

Refugee Council Head of Advocacy Lisa Doyle said: "This is a shocking decision which will only serve to ensure that asylum seekers are trapped in poverty.

"We are extremely alarmed that the Government looked at the evidence and then concluded that it’s happy with people being forced into a situation where they struggle to eat or get the medication they need.”

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