Tim Farron and Sally Hamwee speak out against £20 a week cuts to asylum seekers’ support

Without Nick Clegg to restrain them, the Tories have been setting about cutting benefits to asylum seekers as this story in the Independent shows.

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, has accused Conservative ministers of quietly cutting the living allowance for asylum applicants this summer after Nick Clegg blocked the move inside the Coalition before the May general election. Since August, a single parent with one child has received £73 a week instead of £96 and a couple with two children £147 a week instead of £178.

Mr Farron is calling on the Government to grant asylum-seekers the right to work after six months if their claim has not been resolved by then. He also wants ministers to accept more than the 20,000 refugees from Syria by 2020 they have agreed to allow in.

He told The Independent: “Not only is the Government failing to tackle properly the biggest humanitarian crisis that we face they are also slashing the benefits of people who claim asylum. Many of these people are fleeing persecution, war or torture. The Government seems keener to play divisive politics pitting one group against another than actually facing up to the issue.”

The Lib Dem leader added: “It frankly is economically stupid to not allow asylum seekers to be able to work so they pay tax and contribute. These plans make them seek handouts and shows the Government at its worst.”

Liberal Democrat peer Sally Hamwee added:

As a country we should be proud that we have legislation to support asylum-seekers who are likely otherwise to be destitute. So should we not be ashamed if the reality of that support fails to achieve this? Actions speak louder than words and kind platitudes have no place in this sphere.

A mother and small child being expected to exist on only £73.90 a week is hard, to live a life in which a child can actually develop, learn and grow is close to impossible.

On Tuesday, we have a chance in the Lords to annul the regulations. It looks like Labour are intending to sit on their hands so it is unlikely to pass…but if we don’t challenge decisions like this, what are we for?

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8 Comments

  • Richard Underhill 24th Oct '15 - 3:11pm

    The acting First Minister has said that Northern Ireland will accept a proportion of the most vulnerable and will need to look carefully at their housing needs. To another question she replied about the level of crimes of racial hatred, some of them ‘sectarian’ (too high) and some of them ‘racial’ (too high).

  • In coalition you were quite happy to support the cuts to the disabled. Remember the cheering from Clegg and co at that first budget? Why are you ashamed at the cuts to asylum seekers now?

  • Shaun Cunningham 24th Oct '15 - 3:44pm

    Hey……come to the UK, one can get £175 pounds a week, it’s all free. This party must be out of their tiny minds.

    Is it no wonder we are on 7% in the national polls. About time the party started to listen not to ourselves but to the public out there who we are trying to win over so we can….yes have some political power or is that just a distant dream for some.

    Sorry this party is on the wrong side of public opinion with regard to this issue. The fight back begins…..What a joke.

  • Shaun Cunningham 24th Oct '15 - 3:52pm

    There are pensioners in this country who have given their soul to this nation who can only dream of such a sum.
    This party needs to wake up, we are out of touch and should get real.

  • Helen Dudden 24th Oct '15 - 5:41pm

    We need more housing, there is a serious shortfall of decent housing that does not take a generous amount of housing benefit or salaries. Also, some social housing that would benefit from being rebuilt.

    I suggest that those in Bath stop complaining, and let the development at Newton St. Low begin.

    There is quite a percentage of those residents in the UK living in temporary housing at this present time.

    I agree, this whole situation is poorly thought out.

  • Little Jackie Paper 24th Oct '15 - 7:41pm

    Shaun Cunningham – Sorry, have you actually seen the -pension triple lock?

  • Gemma Stockford 26th Oct '15 - 7:02am

    Hooray- many of the general public are fair minded and will support this- especially if we counter the nonsensical lies that are peddled. And since our system is broken it saves money as well as giving dignity if we allow people to work after six months. People who have been through complete nightmares are left to live in limbo for long periods. This does not help us or them the permission to work is overdue.

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