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JRF defines destitution as Home Office takes £16 a week from asylum seeking children

In the same week as the Home Office announces cuts to support for children of asylum seekers The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published an interim report on their research into destitution in the UK, see . This includes the following definition of destitution (developed with experts and a survey of 2,000 members of the public):

“People are destitute if they lacked two or more of these six essentials over the past month, because they cannot afford them: Shelter (have slept rough for one or more nights); Food (have had fewer than two meals a day for two or more days); Heating their home (have been unable to do this for five or more days): Lighting their home (have been unable to do this for five or more days); Clothing and footwear (appropriate for weather); Basic toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush); People are also destitute if their income is so low that they are unable to purchase these essentials for themselves.”

The research team will now do a survey in 10 locations across the UK, alongside analysis of secondary data sets and qualitative interviews with people experiencing destitution. The final report is due at the end of this year. See also their latest annual Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion report.

This week, the Home Office announced changes to the rate of asylum support which will come into force on 6 April. All asylum seekers supported under Section 95 will now receive £36.95 a week for their essential living needs. (The first increase for a single adult in 6 years and amounting to just 33 pence.) But the greatest impact will be on families as each child under 16 will receive around £16 less each week as a result of the changes (additional amounts payable to pregnant women and children under 3 will still be payable). The Asylum Support (Amendment) Regulations 2015 and the explanatory memorandum for the regulations are attached as files. The memo illustrates the impact of the changes on the main family groups.

Update: 27th March: The Government has reversed its decision to reduce the child’s rate of s95 support by £16. The 33p increase of the adult rate will still go ahead but other than that, support rates will remain the same.

This policy U-turn is confirmed in ” rel=”nofollow”>Statutory instrument 944 which revokes the rate change in Statutory instrument 645.

Attachment Size
The Asylum Support (Amendment) Regulations 2015 29.56 KB
Explanatory Memo: The Asylum Support (Amendment) Regulations 2015 224.47 KB