To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the Asylum Support Rates in the context of the covid-19 outbreak.
10 July 2020
We have 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 (the legal test).
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%. This increase is significantly higher than the current general rate of inflation, which Office for National Statistics data shows was only 0.5% in the 12 months period to May.
In addition to the allowance, we also provide free accommodation, with utilities and council tax paid for and there is free access to the NHS and free access to education for their children.
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.