MORE than 10,000 children of asylum-seekers in the UK are being
pushed into poverty by what the Children's Society calls
"alarmingly" low levels of state support.
It says that a decision by the Government in April 2011 to
freeze financial assistance means that their families have suffered
a 7.5-per-cent cut in real terms caused by the rising price of
basic necessities such as food and clothing. Some families are now
living on little more than a third of the amount they would need
just to escape poverty.
Last April, the High Court ruled that the Home Secretary had
acted unlawfully when deciding the level of payments, and gave the
Government until tomorrow (9 August) to reassess rates so that they
met the essential living needs of asylum-seeking families.
This week, the Children's Society called on the Government to
increase asylum-support rates to at least 70 per cent of mainstream
benefits, and to increase them annually in line with inflation.
The chief executive of the Children's Society, Matthew Reed,
said: "Many are unable even to afford the most basic necessities
for their children. The Government has a chance to change this and
make sure that all refugee children have what they need for a
decent start in life. It is critical that the Government does not
miss this opportunity."
The Society said that financial support for families seeking
asylum in the UK can be as little as half that given to those on
mainstream benefits, and most were not allowed to work. It called
on the Government to make sure that 16- and 17-year-olds were
treated within the asylum-support system in the same way as all
other children under 18.