There is a growing campaign since the 16th July announcement by the Immigration Minister James Brokenshire MP that the Home Office will be introducing a flat rate of asylum support from 10th August 2015 for all people seeking asylum of £36.95 per week, regardless of age. The change is a real-time cut in support to children and to lone parents seeking refugee protection and will push vulnerable people further below the poverty line and exacerbate suffering.
Under the new system:
- There will be a payment of £36.95 per week for each asylum seeker, whether they are adults or children. This reflects the first increase of 33p per week for single adults since rates were set at 70% of income support several years ago but a significant cut for parents and children, leaving them around 50% below the poverty line.
- A single parent with one child will get £73.90, compared to £96.90 now.
- A single parent with two children will receive £110.85, compared to £149.86.
- A couple with two children will receive £147.80. They currently receive £178.44.
Click here for the full briefing on asylum support from the House of Commons library and here for the Home Office letter asylum support August 2014 sent to National Asylum Stakeholder Forum members by the Immigration Minister to explain the rationale behind the change in level:
The Scottish National Party and the Green Party have queried this decision. On 21 July, David Hanson MP, Shadow Immigration Minister, formally opposed the regulations and tabled an Early Day Motion 340 supported by 22 MPs form the SNP, the liberal democrats and the Greens.
On the same day John McDonnell MP tabled another more detailed EDM (Early Day Motion 344) opposing the cuts, noting that it goes against the April High Court judgement and immediately gaining 27 MPs signatures. City of Sanctuary is encouraging supporters to get their MPs to sign this and EDM 340. Before the announcement, there was already a groundswell of support from MPs, City Councils and civic organisations seeking for asylum support to return to 70% of income support, following the High Court judgement of 9 April 2014 which states that the Government’s assessment of the amount needed by asylum seekers to meet their essential living needs is flawed . See the Early Day Motion 99 signed by 98 MPs. Your new MP may wish to support this EDM too.
In Huddersfield asylum seeking families have produced cards drawn by their children which they have sent to their local MP asking for S95 support to remain the same. In Loughborough CoS supporters are handing out activity packs for children to families who have to report to the East Midlands Reporting Centre. These are being received with tears of gratitude.
The Regional Asylum Activism Project have useful links with more information and a template letter to adapt to send to your MP. Please follow the links and share the information widely to increase support for this campaign.