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£36 pounds is enough to live on, says Home Office

12 August 2014

A single asylum seeker will continue to receive around £36 a week – a figure that has not changed since April 2011 and is leaving many people in poverty.

Earlier this year, the Home Office was ordered to review asylum support after freezing the rates for four years running. 

The Home Office has now announced that the cash support will not increase. 

Less than £3 to buy shoes

According to the Home Office, a single asylum seeker needs only £3 a week to cover travel costs and £2.51 for clothing and footwear. 

These rates are based on data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which looked at the spending costs of the poorest 10% of the UK population in 2012. 

The Home Office has adjusted the figures further, to account for other factors – including evidence from sources that are not revealed. 

Living in poverty

The British Red Cross and other organisations believe that current levels of support for asylum seekers are not enough to live off. 

Thousands of asylum seekers come to the Red Cross every year for extra support to meet basic living needs, such as having regular meals or enough clothes to wear. 

Our research suggests that it is not uncommon for people to stay in this state of poverty for between two and five years (41%). 

Continuing to suffer

Jonathan Ellis, head of policy, research and advocacy at the Red Cross, said: “As part of the largest global humanitarian movement, we are concerned at this level of support for often very vulnerable people. We believe that asylum support rates should be in line with other benefits.

“We warmly welcomed the Court’s recent ruling and looked to the Home Secretary to take this forward. We are disappointed with this outcome. Any failure to increase asylum support rates will, in our opinion, continue to create humanitarian suffering.”

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