At the beginning of February, the Government increased the level of asylum support (Section 95) by 80p weekly – from £36.95 to £37.75. This is the first time that support levels have been raised since 2015. However, in that same year, the Government also reduced support levels for children from £52.96 per week down to one flat rate per person.
The Home Office uses a methodology which was developed in 2014 to determine what level of support is required to adequately cover the essential living needs of asylum seekers. A number of agencies including Asylum Matters are gathering evidence to challenge the Home Office’s assessment of adequate asylum support rates and demonstrate the impact of living on asylum support. This evidence will be used in briefings for MPs and Lords in order to raise the profile of the issue in Parliament, and to feed into a submission to the 2018 review of support levels where we will call for an increase in rates.
So, we want your help! Can you help us to gather this information?
We are open to receiving any kind of evidence looking at the general impact of living on low levels of support on an individual’s health and wellbeing.
In addition, we are looking for more specific information that can help us respond to assumptions that underpin the Home Office’s methodology for setting rates. For example, in their 2017 report there are a number of assumptions regarding supplementary support asylum seekers can obtain from other sources such as children’s schools, local authorities and the NHS which we would like to challenge in terms of the availability and accessibility of this support. There are other assumptions made about the current dispersal system that we believe are not reflective of the realities faced by most asylum-seekers, such as that ‘asylum-seekers are invariably accommodated in urban centres.’ The full report can be read here.
We have pulled together this document which outlines the statements from the review which we would like to gather evidence on to ascertain whether they accurately reflect the lives of those living on asylum support.
While these are categories that we are keen to explore, please note that any general case studies you have of individuals living on asylum support will be valuable and can likely provide evidence to refute a number of Home Office assumptions. So please do share whatever information you can.
Please note this is Section 95 support not Section 4. Section 4 support is reviewed on a more ad hoc basis as it is considered to be a more temporary type of support.
The deadline for this evidence to be submitted is 20th March.
Please send all information to Emma Birks [email protected] tel. 07557 983227. Emma is happy to answer any questions you may have.