Thank you for writing to me about Asylum Support. I have read your email carefully and noted the key points that you raise.
I recognise that this is a very important issue, and I am proud of the UK’s long tradition of providing a place of safety for refugees. Each claim for asylum is carefully considered and where it is found that individuals are in need of protection, asylum is given, with the ultimate aim of helping them to return home if it is safe to do so.
Asylum seekers are allowed to work, in jobs on the Shortage Occupation List, if their claim has not been decided after 12 months through no fault of their own. The current policy aims to strike a balance between being equitable towards asylum seekers, while considering the rights and needs of our society as a whole, prioritising jobs for British citizens and those with leave to remain here, including refugees. The Government is considering recent calls to change the current policy and is reviewing the evidence available.
Any asylum seeker who would otherwise be destitute is provided with free accommodation, utility bills and council tax paid and a weekly cash allowance with extra money available for mothers and young children.
From 15 June, the cash allowance was raised from £37.75 to £39.60, representing a rise of around 5 per cent. It is important to consider that this is significantly higher than general inflation which data showed was 0.8 per cent in the 12 months to April 2020. Indeed, food inflation over the same period was 1.4 per cent.
I appreciate that you have concerns over this allowance figure. The methodology used for the cash allowance has been recognised by the Courts as rational and lawful. It is also important to factor in that NHS healthcare and education for children is provided free of charge.
For more information please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/report-on-review-of-cash-allowance-paid-to-asylum-seekers
As I say, I am proud of this country’s tradition of welcoming refugees, and I will continue to closely monitor the support available to asylum seekers to ensure sufficient support is provided.
Thank you again for writing to me about this important matter.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking