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Covid-19: Support for People in the Asylum System

Volume 677: debated on Monday 8 June 2020

What recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of levels of financial support for people in the asylum system during the covid-19 outbreak. (903009)

I have been making an assessment of this matter in recent weeks, and following publication of the most recent Office for National Statistics data, I can announce to the House today that, with effect from 15 June, the asylum support rate will be increased by 5%, from £37.75 a week up to £39.60 a week. That is about five times higher than the prevailing rate of inflation, which is currently 0.8%.

That is rather an ungenerous increase, I have to say, given that the rate can be as low as £37 a day for certain people seeking asylum. However, any increase is something I welcome. Could the Minister tell me whether he could live on under £40 a day?

Well, it is per week: the rate is £39.60 per week. It is calculated by a methodology that is approved by the courts, and it is done with reference to ONS data, based on the incomes of people in the bottom 10% of the population. It is done with reference to figures, by a court-approved method, and that is the right way to fix this thing. I say again that a 5% increase is very substantially higher than inflation.