The government has recently announced, in a letter sent to refugee agencies 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.
Amounts going to children, couples and 18-24 year olds will go up in line with inflation. However, the government has decided that because supported asylum seekers are provided with accommodation that includes utilities bills, they don’t face additional costs when they turn 25, unlike other people on benefits. So, they are introducing a single rate for all single asylum seekers regardless of age.
We are really disappointed that, instead of using this change 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 rates. If asylum seekers who are able to work were allowed to do so, they wouldn’t be forced to rely on benefits.
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.
What’s more, the government did this without any consultation, on the basis that it believes no-one will care. We know this is not the case, and we need your help now, to stop this change going ahead.
Please write to the Home Secretary, Rt. Hon. Alan Johnson MP, to ask him to reconsider urgently.
Please change and personalise the message as much as you want to give it greater impact and ensure you put your message across.
You can send your message either by post or by email – a letter in non-electronic form can often be the most effective way of making sure your MP notes your point of view.
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