Families seeking safety in Britain face being plunged further into poverty following drastic cuts to asylum support rates.
The changes, originally introduced by the Home Office in March but then quickly withdrawn, will come into force from 10 August 2015.
All destitute asylum seekers awaiting a decision on their claim will now receive the same weekly allowance of £36.95 per person.
This will mean a significant cut to the levels of support that families with children aged under 16 will receive, with single parent families being hit particularly hard. A lone parent with two children will see their asylum support payments cut by over a quarter.
The additional payments given to pregnant women and children under three will still be available. Pregnant women will continue to receive an additional £3 a week and very small children will continue to receive an additional £5 a week until the age of one, and £3 a week between the ages of one and three.
When making the changes, Home Office officials claimed that ‘sufficient funds continue to be available to ensure parents to care for their children safely and effectively’.
Asylum seekers often arrive in Britain with only the clothes on their back and the hope they have reached safety, having suffered unimaginable horrors in their home countries. As people waiting for their asylum claims to be processed are not allowed to work, they are usually forced to rely on the Government to provide them with money to eat and somewhere safe to sleep at night.
Refugee Council Policy Manager Judith Dennis said: “These shameful cuts will plunge children further into poverty and could cause even more unnecessary hunger, ill health and anxiety for some of the most vulnerable families in Britain.
“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.”