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Announced 30% reduction in asylum support rates for children revoked

Date of Publication: 
27 March 2015
Summary: 

Planned asylum support reduction for under-16s under new "economies of scale" methodology now revoked

Announced 30% reduction in asylum support rates for children revoked

27 March 2015
EIN

Planned changes to reduce the level of asylum support for under-16s have today been revoked. The Refugee Council yesterday criticised the planned changes, saying they would push asylum seeking families further into poverty.

Under the changes made by the Asylum Support (Amendment) Regulations 2015, all those on asylum support were due to receive a weekly payment of £36.95. Previously, children under 16 had received a payment of £52.96. The change was due to come in on April 6th, but today's Asylum Support (Amendment No.2) Regulations 2015 has revoked the change. It means the asylum support levels for under-16s will not change.

Additional support for very young children will also be maintained at the current rate of £5 per week for children aged under 1 and £3 for children aged between 1 and 3. Pregnant women will continue to receive an extra £3 per week.

The explanatory memorandum to the Asylum Support (Amendment) Regulations 2015 set out what the difference in support for families under the proposed new payment system would have meant:

Single Parent +1 Child

Single Parent +2 Children

Couple + 1 child

Couple + 2 children

Current payment

£96.90

£149.86

£125.48

£178.44

New Payment

£73.90

£110.85

£110.85

£147.80

The Home Office said it was making the change because the previous methodology used to calculate the amount needed took no account of the economies of scale available to a family group as a whole.

"In taking this decision we have fully considered our legal duty to have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children," the memorandum stated.

However, the Refugee Council said that the changes would have meant families seeking safety in Britain being forced further into poverty.

Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren said: "Life is already far from comfortable for families in the asylum system. We know that current support rates can cause hunger, ill health and worry for some of the most vulnerable people in our society so it's particularly distasteful that the Government has actively chosen to push families further into poverty."

In the explanatory memorandum to today's Regulations, the Home Office said that, on reflection, it has been decided that the payments should remain at present levels for the time being.

The Home Office added that it is giving further consideration to whether any changes should be made in the longer term.

On Twitter, the Refugee Council said the cancelling of the planned reduction was great news.