Our Mission

At GARAS (Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) we offer support to those seeking asylum in Gloucestershire, welcoming them when they arrive, advocating for them in their daily struggles, supporting them if they face being sent back as well as helping them adjust to their long term future if they are recognised as refugees.

Contact Information

Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (GARAS)
The Trust Centre
Falkner St
Gloucester
GL1 4SQ

Telephone: 01452 550528
email: info@garas.org.uk
www.garas.org.uk

Director
Adele Owen

Asylum Support Rates – immediate action needed

June 18, 2014

Please consider writing to your MP, encouraging them to sign an Early Day Motion to increase Asylum Support in line with inflation.  To see if your MP has already signed up, look here.

In summary,
Teresa Pearce MP (Labour) has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM No.99) on the High Court Judgement on Asylum Support. The EDM has cross party support, including from Peter Bottomley MP (Conservative) and Sarah Teather MP (Liberal Democrat) and calls on the Government to raise asylum support rates to at least 70% of Income Support and to increase this in line with inflation annually.

We now need to get as many MPs as possible to sign the EDM so that the Government can see there is strong support for this issue prior to making its decision on how to respond to the Court judgment. Still Human is therefore calling on all member organisations and individuals to lobby their MPs to sign EDM No.99  

Below is a draft letter you can personalise to send to your MP:

Dear

I am very concerned that the level of support currently being provided to those who have come to the UK to escape conflict and persecution is not sufficient to meet their essential living needs.

In 1999, asylum seekers received 70% of Income Support, but in recent years this has been reduced and is now as low as 50% for many asylum seekers. The vast majority of those seeking asylum currently receive just over £5 a day to pay for food, toiletries, clothes, travel and other expenses (housing and fuel bills are paid for separately for those who have nowhere to live).

On 9 April 2014, the High Court found that the Government’s assessment of the amount needed by asylum seekers to avoid destitution was flawed and ordered the decision be taken again. The Government did not appeal the ruling and must take a new decision on whether to increase asylum support rates by 9 August.

Asylum seekers are effectively not allowed to work to support themselves and are often dependant on government support for extended periods of time. At the end of March 2014, nearly 8,000 asylum seekers had been waiting more than six months for an initial decision on their claim.

While individuals can live on £5 a day for a few days or even weeks, they cannot do so for the longer term without it having a serious impact on their health. Indeed, the Royal College of Psychiatrists stated that “the psychological health of refugees and asylum seekers currently worsens on impact with the UK asylum system”.

Asylum applications to the UK have been under 25,000 for the last five years – easily within the UK’s capacity to deal with efficiently and humanely – and around half of these applicants are eventually recognised as needing protection and given permission to stay in the UK.

I believe that the Government should respond to the High Court ruling by significantly increasing the support to asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute and I would be grateful if you could show your support for those seeking protection in this country by signing the cross-party EDM on the High Court judgment on asylum support (EDM No.99).

If you prefer not to sign an EDM, then please write to the Home Secretary expressing your concern over current asylum support rates and ask the Government to ensure that Section 95 support is at least equal to 70% of Income Support and that rates are increased in line with inflation each year.

Many thanks for your consideration of the above and I look forward to hearing from you soon

Yours sincerely

Thanks to Still Human Still Here for all their work on this, which we are copying here.