Refugee Council to Government: Stop cuts to asylum support

Write to Home Secretary to ask him to reconsider urgently the decision

The Refugee Council is asking UK Government to urgently reconsider its decision of reducing the support to asylum seekers.

In a recent letter to refugee agencies, the government announced that from October, support to single asylum seekers aged over 25 is to be reduced to just £35.13 each week.

“This is basically £5 per day, to cover anything that an individual might need while waiting for a decision on their claim. This means everything – food, toiletries, clothes, travel, phone calls – on just £5 per day,” the Refugee Council says.

While the amounts going to children, couples and 18-24 year olds will go up in line with inflation, the government has decided that because supported asylum seekers are provided with accommodation that includes utilities bills, unlike other people on benefits they don’t face additional costs when they turn 25.

The government is therefore introducing a single rate for all single asylum seekers regardless of age.

“We are really disappointed that, instead of using this as an opportunity to raise rates for under 25s, the change will mean a cut from £42 to £35.13 for over-25s. This means that people who start receiving support from October will have to manage on nearly £7 a week less than current rates – leaving them to survive on just a little more than 50% of standard income support,” says the Refugee Council.

Asylum seekers “wouldn’t be forced to rely on benefits” if those who are able to work were allowed to do so, says the Refugee Council.

“Asylum seekers are among the most vulnerable impoverished groups in our society. They have often experienced unimaginable traumas, including torture, rape or other forms of violence, and have come to the UK with nothing. They deserve our help and compassion, not to be penalised.”

The Refugee Council observes that the government made this decision “without any consultation, on the basis that it believes no-one will care.” But the Refugee Council is convinced this is not the case. This is why they have launched a campaign to stop the government from implementing this policy.

In order to support the campaign, the Refugee Council is urging you to write to the Home Secretary, Rt. Hon. Alan Johnson MP, asking him to reconsider urgently the decision.

The Refugee Council has prepared a model letter which you can print out and send to the Home Secretary. You can download the letter from this link:

“If you have time, please personalise the letter as this will increase its impact. Don’t forget to include your own address,” says the Refugee Council.

It’s time to grant asylum seekers right to work