Government must protect refugee children from living in poverty

09 April 2014

The Children’s Society response to High Court ruling on asylum support

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

'Today’s landmark ruling sends a clear signal to the government that it must stop forcing families and children -- who are seeking safety from violence and persecution-- into poverty.

'Financial support for children and families seeking protection in the UK can be as little as half that given to those on mainstream benefits, and they are not allowed to work. In some cases they would need nearly three times more financial assistance than they currently receive in order to be pulled out of poverty. In families where someone has a disability, support is even less.

'Alarmingly, financial support for 16 and 17-year-olds seeking asylum with their families is far below what is needed for them to develop and thrive. Families cannot afford to buy them the basics, including enough food, travel to school, books or to join their classmates on school trips.

'The government must follow the High Court’s ruling and make sure children and their families who are seeking protection in the UK get the support they need to live with dignity. No child, no matter who they are or where they are from, should be forced to grow up in poverty.'

Ends

Media enquiries

For more information, please call Beth Herzfeld in The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422, 07775 812 357 or email beth.herzfeld@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to editors

  • Summary of Mr Justice Popplewell in Refugee Action vs Secretary of State for the Home Department, handed down 9 April 2014.
  • For more information on asylum support see the report of the cross-party Parliamentary Inquiry into Asylum Support for Children and Young People.
  • The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life. Someone who acts on their behalf and can help guide them through the extremely complex system. These children deserve to be kept safe so they can recover from the trauma they have suffered and rebuild their lives.