The cost of living crisis is affecting everyone in the UK. Food costs and bills are soaring and wages and benefits are not keeping up with inflation.

This crisis is hitting the most vulnerable in society especially hard. For example, people going through the asylum system who were already struggling to survive on just £5.80 a day.

People seeking asylum do not have the right to work to support themselves and their families. Instead, they must rely on small amounts of money from the Home Office to get by.

Current levels of support for people in the asylum system are far below Universal Credit and have not kept pace with the cost of living.

The grim result is that today, people seeking asylum have to survive on just £40.85 per week. That is less than £6 a day for the essentials like food and transport, not to mention things like social clubs or activities for children which help people make friends and be part of their new communities.

For people who are housed in asylum accommodation – like hotels or army barracks – where food is provided, the situation is even worse. They receive just £8.24 a week – less than £1.20 a day.

We’re calling for people seeking asylum to get more financial support, so that they can live with dignity.

We’ve written to the Home Office to call for people seeking asylum to be given the right to work, and for asylum support rates to be increased to:

  • £84.12 per week for people living in dispersal accommodation (usually flats in towns and cities)
  • £44.08 per week for people living in asylum accommodation where food is provided (usually hotels or army barracks)

Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council said: “The current support rates are frankly insulting given the cost of living crisis we’re all experiencing. For those in the deepest poverty this is a serious social emergency.

“I know from my own experience and from what our clients tell us that people going through the asylum system want to live in safety and dignity, like any of us.

“The people we work with are reporting really serious levels of poverty. People are struggling to pay for a bus to attend a crucial Home Office or health appointments. To take their children to kids clubs and activities. To make new friends. Or  simply to put food on the table. Parents are missing meals so their kids can eat. We can’t accept this.

“These low levels of support mean it is extremely difficult for people to participate in society and to get to know their new communities. This increases social isolation and can have a huge impact on people’s mental health.

“The Home Office needs to radically increase the rate of asylum support to a level that makes dignified living possible, and in keeping with the true rise in costs across the UK.”

You can read our full recommendations below.


Scottish Refugee Council submission to Home office consultation on asylum support rates - August 2022
Laura Delaney
Author: Laura Delaney