4 Feb 2011

Ilona Pinter, Policy Adviser, The Children's Society, said:

'The Children's Society welcomes today’s (4 February) report published by Oxfam and the Centre for Migration Policy Research, describing the strategies used by refused asylum seekers to cope with destitution in the UK.'

'The report reflects The Children's Society experience of working with children and families who have no access to statutory support and unable to work. They often slip under the radar and live without access to basic services such as housing and healthcare. It is an astonishing indictment of the system in this country when people are willing to accept these living conditions rather than returning to their country of origin. The government cannot and must not use the threat of destitution as a tool of immigration policy in order to make asylum seeking children and families leave this country.'

'As ministers consider changes to the asylum system, legal aid and make plans for the child poverty strategy, we urge the government not to remove vital services and legal aid for asylum support and immigration cases. These act as lifelines for the most vulnerable children and families and cutting back will risk putting more children and young people into this terrible situation.'

For more information or media interviews please contact Rafi Cooper in The Children's Society press office: 020 7841 4422, rafi.cooper@childrenssociety.org.uk