Posted: 18 June 2014

Landmark judgment could end poverty for refugee children

This is Refugee Week, which is celebrating the contributions children and young people make to the UK. It is also a chance for us to highlight some of the things that need to change for these child refugees.

Families with children fleeing war and persecution from abroad are generally destitute when they arrive in the UK and are entitled to receive support from the Home Office while their asylum claims are processed. Almost 6000 families are in this situation. 

Yet the rates of support the Home Office provides are well below the poverty line and have not increased since 2011. In some cases, a family needs nearly twice as much as they receive through asylum support to be lifted out of poverty, according to the government’s own thresholds. 

A judge has ruled that this is unlawful and has ordered the Secretary of State to reassess levels of asylum support by August this year. 

We now have a window of opportunity for change. We are calling on the government to increase levels of asylum support to 70% of income support rates. This would help to ensure that these families are better able to meet the costs of living and education, helping them to participate in society. 

It is vital that all children seeking safety in the UK can have a decent start to life, no matter who their parents are or where they were born.

By Lucy Gregg - Policy team

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