CoS are mobilising behind the call for the Home Office to urgently increase financial support to people seeking sanctuary to keep them safe during the current COVID-19 crisis.
People seeking asylum in the UK are not allowed to work and are forced to rely on support provided under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Asylum support rates are currently set at £37.75 per person per week or £5.39 a day to cover essential living needs like food, household products, travel, clothing and communications.
The call to action launched by Asylum Matters in collaboration with Refugee Action and supported by many refugee charities, including National City of Sanctuary UK encourage individuals and organisations to write to their MPs asking for them to call on the Home Secretary to urgently increase asylum support rates to help people seeking sanctuary to stay safe during the current public health pandemic.
The groups are making two asks to the HO:
- Give asylum support rates the same COVID-19 related £20 weekly uplift as Universal Credit which was provided on 8th March;
- Reinstate the link between asylum support rates and mainstream benefits (in this case, Universal Credit) to ensure that people seeking asylum are never again forced to live on so little.
In a statement to supporters the campaigners say “We’re encouraging all organisations and groups – large and small – to get in touch with their local MPs and explain why forcing people seeking asylum to live off £5 a day is never acceptable, particularly during a public health pandemic”.
Asylum Matters have translated this into two template letters – one for organisations that directly support people seeking asylum (either through service delivery or social support) and another for individuals, volunteers/those with personal experience. These will help supporters across the network to email their MP directly and add in their own local experiences and examples of how people are struggling on so little as prices are rising. Here are the template emails:
If you don’t know your MP’s email address – check it out on Write to Your MP
There is also the easy and quick option to help supporters join the call for change by using the Refugee Action Write to your MP e-action.
In addition, supporters can sign and share the Freedom from Torture petition calling for an increase in the asylum support allowance.
Please also share widely via social media. There’s some excellent graphics available for use on social media platforms – such as these animations from Refugee Action, and this excellent video from Freedom From Torture. For examples of supportive tweets, check the Refugee Action and Asylum Matters’ twitter timelines!