18 Dec 2012

David Laws scheduled to present evidence in final session of inquiry into asylum support   

The Minister for Child Poverty, David Laws MP, will be giving evidence on Wednesday (19 December) in the final session of an inquiry into whether the current asylum support system is meeting the needs of children and their families.

There has been no formal review of the asylum support system and whether children and young people’s needs are being met since 2009, when a statutory duty on the Home Secretary to safeguard and promote children’s welfare came into force.

The inquiry, led by former Children’s Minister Sarah Teather MP, is examining how children and families are supported under the Home Office system for asylum seeking families. It was launched to build a clearer picture of the support system and its impact on children.

The final session will also hear from members of the Refugee Women’s Strategy Group, who will share their experiences of what it is like to live on the asylum support system and how this affects their children.

Sarah Teather MP said: 'This is the final evidence gathering session and I’m very pleased that David Laws will be coming to talk to us. Through the evidence we have heard so far, we see families stuck in limbo and struggling to get by. We’ve heard from experts about how children are caught up in a system which isn’t geared up to promote their well-being and in some cases has a detrimental impact on their health.

'We look forward to hearing from the Child Poverty Minister this week, in order to get a better understanding of how the government’s commitment to tackling child poverty aligns with children caught up in the asylum system.'

The session will be held in the House of Commons, Committee Room 13 from 12.30 – 2.30pm on Wednesday 19 December. The deadline for receiving written evidence was on Friday 7 December 2012. Please call Nadine Ibbetson on 020 7841 4400 or email for further information. The inquiry’s report will be published early next year.

Ends

Media enquiries

For more information, please call Lorna Harris, Media Officer on 020 7841 4424 or email lorna.harris@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

If you cannot attend, you can follow via live tweets on @ChildSocPol

Notes to editors

The panel chaired by former Children’s Minister Sarah Teather MP comprises Neil Carmichael MP, Caroline Dinenage MP, Nic Dakin MP, Virendra Sharma MP, Lord Avebury, Baroness Lister, Bishop of Ripon and Leeds John Packer, Nadine Finch, Children’s Rights Barrister, Garden Court Chambers and Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society.

The panel will hear from David Laws MP – Department for Education Minister responsible for child poverty and social mobility - and from three families and representatives from the Refugee Women’s Strategy Group.

Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 places a duty on the Home Secretary to make arrangements for ensuring that immigration, asylum, nationality and customs functions are discharged in a way that safeguards and promotes the welfare of children.

Please read our Parliamentary inquiry into asylum support for children and young people