UK

Asylum seekers' state support to be cut by government

UK Border controls sign at Heathrow Airport Image copyright PA

The amount asylum seekers and their children receive in state support is to be cut by the government.

Under the changes, a parent with two children will receive £110.85 rather than the £149.86 they get now.

The Home Office said a review found families were getting "significantly more cash than was necessary to meet their essential living needs".

But the Refugee Council said the "shameful cuts" would "plunge children further into poverty".

The Home Office said the changes would mean that a family of four asylum seekers in the UK would receive roughly the same as a family in Sweden.

'Exacerbate the suffering'

Under the new system:

  • There will be a payment of £36.95 per week for each asylum seeker, whether they are adults or children.
  • A single parent with one child will get £73.90, compared to £96.90 now.
  • A single parent with two children will receive £110.85, compared to £149.86.
  • A couple with two children will receive £147.80. They currently receive £178.44.

The changes will take effect from 10 August.

Refugee Council policy manager Judith Dennis said: "It's utterly appalling that the government has chosen to exacerbate the suffering of people who are already living in desperate situations.

"It's vital that the government abandons its planned cuts until it's commissioned an independent review into the fairness of current asylum support levels.

"We suspect the only place that families can live on this amount of money is in the imagination of government ministers."

A Home Office spokesman said asylum seekers requiring support were provided with an essential living allowance in addition to free accommodation, including all utility bills and Council Tax, and access to free healthcare and schooling.

He added: "The changes we are making have been drawn up using a tested methodology designed to ensure support levels are sufficient to cover essential living needs.

"They also bring the UK more closely into line with other EU countries. Among those with comparable systems, only Germany provides higher support payments to families."

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