Join the campaign for an increase in Asylum Support during Covid-19 and beyond
This campaign is urging the Home Secretary to:
a) Increase Asylum Support payments by £20 per week during Covid-19 – in line with the £20 increase to Universal Credit; and
b) Increase Asylum Support payments to 70% of Universal Credit on a permanent basis.
People seeking asylum are forced to struggle on just £5.39 a day, often in crowded housing with people they don’t know, with limited access to WIFI to stay in touch with crucial services and loved ones. With many food banks and other support services closed or working differently, there is no safety net available, and already impossible budgeting decisions are being made even more difficult.
But, we know that poverty and isolation have been hard-baked features of the asylum system long before COVID-19. Urgent reform is needed to stop people seeking asylum from falling further into poverty and destitution during this crisis, and beyond.
Some organisations have already jointly written to the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister to ask for urgent changes to the asylum system to keep people safe and well during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Home Office has since made a number of changes, but to date, has refused to increase asylum support rates. At a recent Home Affairs Select Committee, the Home Secretary stated that she has not seen any specific evidence to suggest that people seeking asylum are struggling to meet their essential living needs during COVID-19.
The situation is urgent. In the context of the current pandemic, the Home Office must ensure that asylum support rates also receive the same £20 COVID-related uplift as Universal Credit.
Further, as a more permanent solution, the link with mainstream benefits should be reinstated by setting asylum support at 70% of Universal Credit, (the level asylum support rates were set at against income support until 2008). This would ensure people seeking asylum are able to meet their needs both during this pandemic, and beyond.
Will you please write to your MP and ask them to take up this issue in Parliament?
It’s really important that MPs hear directly about these issues from their constituents. Whether you’re an individual volunteer or an organisation, MPs respond well to local information and voices. There are 2 options:
a) Asylum Matters, working alongside colleagues in the sector, have produced a template email for you to use to contact your MP. Please click on the link for TEMPLATE Email to MP re Asylum Support; or
b) Refugee Action have an e-action on their website, which is another way to respond
Please amend and adapt these templates as you see fit. If you receive a reply from your MP, it would be helpful if you could please send us a copy so we can feed that into those leading the campaign.
Thank you to Emma Birks of Asylum Matters for alerting Restore to the campaign and to Asylum Matters, Refugee Action and Freedom from Torture for their work on this important issue.