Refugee Action Calls On Immigration Minister To Honour Britain’s ‘Proud History Of Supporting Refugees’

Refugee ActionImmigration Minister James Brokenshire was today questioned by MPs in the House of Commons following Wednesday’s damning judgment from the High Court.

The judgment, following legal action taken by charity Refugee Action, held that the Home Secretary had acted unlawfully by freezing the level of financial support available for asylum seekers.

Following an urgent question from Sarah Teather MP, the Immigration Minster was asked to explain how the Home Office would take forward the Judge’s findings.

In response to the Minister’s comments this morning, Dave Garratt, Chief Executive of Refugee Action, said:

“We are disappointed that the Home Office is considering appealing what is a very clear and thorough judgment from the High Court. Every day the Home Office spends prevaricating is another day this vulnerable group of people are forced to live below the poverty line, sometimes on as little as £5.23 a day.

“The Minister reiterated a number of times this morning that Britain has a proud history of supporting people who seek safety. It’s about time this Government lives up to this claim, accepts where it made mistakes, and starts providing a level of support for asylum seekers that is humane, dignified and lawful.”

Wednesday’s judgement ruled that the Home Secretary needed to review her decision to freeze asylum support rates by 9 August 2014.

In launching its Bring Back Dignity campaign, Refugee Action welcomes minister’s commitment to carry out a review of this year’s rates, as is required by the judgment. Based on the Judge’s ruling at the very least this must include:

  • Providing for the cost items identified by the judgement as essential living needs, which the Home Secretary failed to include her original assessment
  • A proper recognition of increases in the cost of living since rates were frozen in 2011
  • A proper recognition of the real terms decrease in the value of support since 2007.

Refugee Action is also calling for a wider review of way in which all asylum support rates are defined. The Home Secretary’s decisions in this area must be based on all relevant factors and be subject to proper independent scrutiny, rather than this existing only through lengthy and expensive court proceedings. Only then can we be sure that support for people seeking asylum is truly based on their essential living needs, not merely on political will.

Find more about Refugee Action’s Bring Back Dignity campaign.