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Read the letter signed by organisations from all over the UK, including Hastings Community of Sanctuary, in response to announcement of just £1.85 weekly increase for people seeking asylum.

Here is the letter signed by organisations from all over the UK, including Hastings Community of Sanctuary, and sent on June 9th to the Home Secretary.

On Monday 8th June, the long-awaited announcement on increasing financial support for people seeking asylum was made in Parliament. Instead of the £20 requested by all major refugee support organisations and endorsed by many MPs across the House, the increase awarded was of just £1.85 weekly, that is, 26 pence per day. Here is what Chris Philp, Parliamentary under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, said:

“I have been making an assessment of this matter in recent weeks, and following publication of the most recent Office for National Statistics data, I can announce to the House today that, with effect from 15 June, the asylum support rate will be increased by 5%, from £37.75 a week up to £39.60 a week. That is about five times higher than the prevailing rate of inflation, which is currently 0.8%.” (Hansard)


The collective response, brought together by Asylum Matters, begins:

As over 200 organisations working with and alongside people seeking asylum in the UK, we believe your decision announced to parliament yesterday to grant an increase of just £1.85 in the weekly rate of asylum support is wholly unacceptable.

It would not allow people to meet their essential living needs in normal times; and it completely fails to take account of the additional needs and severe pressures placed on individuals and families during a public health emergency. We urge you to immediately reconsider this decision.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all, but it is not affecting us all equally. The challenges for those left to live on little more than £5 a day have been further exacerbated in the current crisis.

We know that people seeking asylum have serious problems being able to afford enough food to feed their families, and are making impossible choices between food, cleaning materials, nappies and over the counter medication. We know families are struggling with the realities of home-schooling without internet access or sufficient educational resources to support their children’s development. We know people worry about their ability to self-isolate as they cannot afford to stock up on provisions. Following Public Health England’s recent analysis, we know that people from BAME backgrounds, which includes the vast majority of people seeking asylum in the UK, are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.   […]

You can read the full response here.