2 April 2014
Following calls for action from the British Red Cross and other groups, Manchester City Council has unanimously passed a motion to tackle destitution among its asylum seeker and refugee communities.
It follows the launch of a hard-hitting report by the British Red Cross and partners, which highlighted the bleak situation of destitute asylum seekers and refugees in Greater Manchester.
Destitution is usually defined as a lack of regular access to essential resources, such as food, clothing, and a place to live.
Due to reasons that range from administrative delays to a backlog of cases, a rising number of refugees and asylum seekers are being cut off from welfare benefits and left without any support.
Destitute in Manchester
Campaigners and local action groups in the Manchester area have been calling for councillors to address this humanitarian problem for several years.
Our report, ‘A decade of destitution: time to make a change’, estimated there were 2,000 destitute asylum seekers and refugees in Greater Manchester alone.
Almost half of those surveyed in the research had been destitute for at least two years, and around one in ten had been destitute for 10 years or more.
An important step
The motion shows solidarity and support for these refugees and asylum seekers. It also reflects concerns about the effects of poverty and homelessness on their physical and mental health.
Manchester is the 11th council to take this step, joining Bradford, Bristol, Glasgow, Kirklees, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Oxford, Sheffield and Swansea.
Jonathan Ellis, head of advocacy, said: “The British Red Cross is delighted that Manchester City Council has expressed their public concern at the scale of refugee destitution. This is a humanitarian crisis across the UK and momentum is building for an end to this suffering.”