The Home Office has announced a £1:22 increase to weekly asylum support, bringing the total amount a person going through the asylum system has to live on from £39:63 to £40:85 per week.

That’s just £5:83 a day to cover food, toiletries, clothing, non-prescription medication and travel.

The figure has been updated after applying the September 2021 Consumer Price Index rate of 3.1%.

But inflation is at a record high of 5.2%, and as poverty campaigner Jack Monroe pointed out, the actual inflation experienced by people who rely on basic food products from supermarkets has been far higher.

The cost of the cheapest packet of pasta in one major supermarket has reportedly gone up by 141% and in the last year, the price of the cheapest rice has increased by 344%.

Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council said: “Levels of asylum support are really very low. People existing on this support have no choice but to opt for the most affordable foods and toiletries. As Jack Monroe pointed out, the cost of these basic goods is now rising by far more than the general inflation rate.

“Anyone would struggle to fully integrate into a community, to eat nutritious meals and to feel in control of our lives with such low funds. How far can an increase of £1:22 a week, just over 17p a day, go in today’s world?

“People are waiting far too long for an initial decision on their asylum claim. 23,000 people have been waiting over 18 months just for their first decision, and the backlog of people awaiting this decision is the largest it has been in two decades. It is inhumane that people are left living in limbo, unable to work, and increasingly unable to afford the essentials for such long periods of time.

“We urgently need the Home Office to take these rapidly rising costs into account and increase the amount of money that people seeking protection have to live on by more than this tiny amount. We’re calling for asylum support to be on a par with the basic rate of Universal Credit. This is a matter of justice and equality.”

This money is loaded onto a pre-paid card, which people are able to spend on a limited range of essential supplies.

Laura Delaney
Author: Laura Delaney