Today, Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts Chris Philip announced a 26p daily increase (£1.85 per week) to the asylum support allowance. This follows calls from the Refugee Council, and many other organisations supporting people seeking asylum, for a £20 weekly uplift in line with the increase given to Universal Credit recipients in March 2020.

People seeking asylum struggle to meet their essential living needs in normal times, and today’s uplift fails to take account of the additional needs and severe pressures placed on individuals and families during a public health emergency. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, people seeking asylum have been forced to make impossible choices between food, cleaning materials, and other essential items.

Together with more than 220 organisations, we have written to the Home Secretary calling for her to urgently reconsider this decision.

Lisa Doyle, Executive Director of Advocacy and Engagement at the Refugee Council, said:

“After several weeks of struggling to get by on just £5.37 per day during this pandemic, this 26p daily increase is deeply insulting to people seeking asylum. It remains unclear why the government feel it’s fair to exclude people seeking asylum from the £20 weekly uplift they announced for Universal Credit recipients as soon as lockdown measures were imposed.

This is too little, and far too late. We urge the government to reconsider this measly increase. Matching the £20 weekly Universal Credit uplift is the very least the government can do for people seeking asylum in this time of national emergency.”

Please support our call by signing our open letter to the Home Secretary calling for immediate changes.

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