To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to support (a) vulnerable and (b) other (i) asylum seekers and (ii) refugees during the covid-19 outbreak.
3 July 2020
We have also been reviewing the level of the cash allowances provided to asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute, as we do each year to ensure that they remain capable of meeting their essential living needs.
As a result of this work, the standard allowance has been raised to £39.60 per week from £37.75 per week, an increase of around 5%. The increase is significantly higher than the current general rate of inflation, which Office of National Statistics data shows was only 0.5% in the 12 months period to May 2020. In addition to asylum support payments, asylum seekers are provided with free accommodation, utilities are paid for, council tax is paid for, they have free access to the NHS and their children have free access to education.
In March, we introduced temporary measures to continue supporting those asylum seekers, failed asylum seekers and newly recognised refugees who would normally have had their accommodation and financial assistance stopped. Home office is currently reviewing this additional support,
The UK has a generous record in supporting asylum seekers. Last year, we made around 20,000 grants of asylum or protection (one of the higher figures in Europe), as well as offered protection to 3,000 Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children – the highest number of any country in Europe. In addition, we have directly resettled around 20,000 people from the most dangerous areas of the world (especially Syrians) in the UK over the last 5 years. Finally, we spend around £14 billion per year in Overseas Aid, helping millions of people around the world. This is the highest amount of any country in Europe and we are the only G7 country to meet the 0.7% of GNI Overseas Aid target