Home Office written question – answered on 24th September 2020.

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Photo of Stuart McDonald Stuart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Immigration, Asylum and Border Control), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Attorney General)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to increase the asylum support rates, beyond the increase made in June 2020.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The standard allowance given to asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute was raised to £39.60 per week from £37.75 per week with effect from 15 June, an increase of around 5%. This increase was significantly higher than the general rate of inflation, which Office for National Statistics data shows was only 0.5% in the 12 months period to May.

Further work is being done, as it is every year, to ensure the rate is enough to meet the essential living needs of asylum seekers (the legal test) and we will announce the outcome in due course.

The taxpayer also provides free accommodation, with utilities and council tax paid for and there is free access to the NHS and free access to education for their children.

The UK has a generous record in supporting asylum seekers. Last year, we made around 20,000 grants of asylum or protection (one of the higher figures in Europe), as well as offered protection to 3,000 Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children – the highest number of any country in Europe. In addition, we have directly resettled around 20,000 people from the most dangerous areas of the world (especially Syrians) in the UK over the last 5 years. Finally, we spend around £14 billion per year in Overseas Aid, helping millions of people around the world. This is the highest amount of any country in Europe and we are the only G7 country to meet the 0.7% of GNI Overseas Aid target.

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