Actors, directors, zoom in on asylum seekers

Protest cuts in their support allowances

6th October 2009: A day after the government said asylum seekers would face cuts in their support allowances, artistes have come out in protest. Among them are actor Simon Callow and director Ken Loach.

Available information indicates the `stars’ have even signed a letter of protest written to the government by charity Refugee Action. It has also been signed by actors Jason Issacs, Juliet Stevenson and Miriam Margoyles.

As per the fresh cuts, the subsistence allowance for single over-25s has gone down by 16 per cent, and is now be at par with the younger adults.

The new arrivals, previously receiving £42.16 a week, are now to get £35.13. Even the allowance to single parents with one child has been frozen. They are now practically left with £2 a week.

Describing the cuts as “appalling”, refugee charities have urged the government to give the asylum seekers the right to work.

Seeking a “practical solution”, chairman of the Asylum Support Partnership — a coalition of refugee charities — Donna Covey says the cuts will hurt some of the most vulnerable in the society.

Convey has added these are hard times for everybody and no-one should receive preferential treatment, but it must be remembered that many of these people have experienced torture, persecution, war and human rights abuses. To make the matters worse, most live in already deeply impoverished circumstances.

She has further added a more practical answer will be to allow those who can to work and contribute to economy’s growth, rather than further penalising the poorest and most vulnerable.

The cuts come at a time when the asylum seekers are already finding it tough; and refugee charities are struggling to meet the demand due an increase in the number of destitute asylum-seekers.

By Monika

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