20 Jul 2015

Responding to the Government’s decision to cut support for families seeking asylum, Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

'The Government has condemned thousands of children in the UK to live in the most severe poverty through its decision to cut financial support for families fleeing war, violence and persecution.

'Instead of giving them and their families the help they need, they are being forced to live on shockingly low-levels of support. By cutting £16 a week per child from this crucial support, the Government is ignoring the fact that raising a child involves additional costs — something it acknowledges for all other children in this country.

'We know from the families we work with that many are already struggling to provide their children with the basics they need for a healthy life. Many cannot afford the food, books or travel to school that their children need. This latest move will only make matters worse.

'Families seeking asylum are wholly dependent on this support as they are not generally allowed to work. The Government needs to increase asylum support rates to at least 70% of mainstream benefits, and make sure they increase annually in line with inflation. No child fleeing persecution should be forced into poverty and destitution.'

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:

 • It is estimated that bringing up a child in Britain costs an additional £89 per week for the first child in a couple and an additional £81 for a second child, excluding housing and childcare.
• In January 2013, a cross-party parliamentary inquiry on asylum support for children and young people published its findings. The inquiry found that alarmingly low levels of asylum support are forcing thousands of children and their families seeking safety in the UK into severe poverty, putting babies’ and mothers’ lives at risk. The panel, supported by The Children’s Society, found widespread examples of families on levels of support far below mainstream benefits, leaving them barely able to put food on the table or buy a winter coat. The inquiry report can be found here: http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/policy-and-lobbying/parliamentary-work/parliamentary-inquiry-asylum-support-children-an-1 
• The Children’s Society has helped change children’s stories for over a century. We expose injustice and address hard truths, tackling child poverty and neglect head-on. We fight for change based on the experiences of every child we work with and the solid evidence we gather. Through our campaigning, commitment and care, we are determined to give every child in this country the greatest possible chance in life.