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Home Office is failing to provide thousands of asylum seekers basic cash support and essentials after being ordered by the High Court to do so (8 December 2020)

Date: 08/12/2020
Duncan Lewis, Main Solicitors, Home Office is failing to provide thousands of asylum seekers basic cash support and essentials after being ordered by the High Court to do so

In September 2020, our public law team challenged the Home Office’s failure to provide adequate support to meet the essential living needs of asylum seekers in emergency accommodation.

In an interim relief hearing, Sir Duncan Ouseley J ruled that our client should have been receiving adequate support to meet these needs during the pandemic and ordered the Home Office to increase his weekly cash support from £5 to £8, in order to purchase essential items such as travel expenses, phone credit, and non-prescription medication. Whilst interim relief was not granted, the judge noted that the increase of cash support was not provided to our client due to circumstances peculiar to him, but due to the broad way in which asylum seekers in full board accommodation were being supported. The Home Office were also ordered to conduct a review of their support provision.

On 27 October 2020, Chris Philp MP announced that a review had been conducted into the provision of asylum support. This noted that there would be an increase of cash support to £8 per week from this date; back-payments would additionally be provided in the amount of £3 between 27 March and 30 June 2020 (for clothing needs), then £7.70 from 1 July to 27 October 2020 (for travel and clothing needs).

Despite this announcement, so far the Home Office has not yet provided support across the board to those who were resident in full board asylum accommodation. We are preparing to issue further urgent proceedings against the Home Office, in respect of the ongoing failure to ensure that the essential living needs of asylum-seekers are met.

Solicitor in the Birmingham-based public law department, Primisha Chudasama, comments on the situation:

“Many clients have faced a significant deterioration in their mental health and sense of self-worth, particularly as they are constantly worrying about how they are going to meet their essential living needs. Often, clients have had to choose between phone credit…and buying warm clothing for the winter months, or using public transport to attend important appointments.”

Public law director Ahmed Aydeed, solicitor Primisha Chudasama, and caseworker Farheen Ahmed handled this matter.

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