A report published today by the British Red Cross and London School of Economics and Political Science found that simple changes to asylum policy could benefit the UK economy by £7 million each year.
The report shows that giving refugees more time to establish themselves would help them avoid becoming homeless or destitute, reducing pressure on local public services.
In response Cllr Muhammed Butt, London Councils’ Executive member for Welfare, Empowerment and Inclusion, said:
“London boroughs are proud of the crucial role we play in supporting asylum seekers from all over the world fleeing violence and persecution. Our city is a beacon of openness and inclusion.
“The latest data available shows that around 170 homeless refugee families are receiving help from London boroughs to find suitable accommodation - and we are supporting many more in other ways.
“We welcome the British Red Cross’ new report, which shows that once an asylum seeker is granted refugee status, they do not have enough time to complete key stages of the process – including opening a bank account, finding a new place to live, getting a job and receiving wages. It’s clear that 28 days is far too short.
“I would like Government to look again at the move-on time period, given the pressure on local public services and the real risk that vulnerable refugees slip into poverty or homelessness instead of making a positive start to settling in the UK.”
Notes to editors
Approximately 170 refugee households, between April and June 2019, were being supported by London local authorities to find suitable accommodation. Source: Gov.uk homelessness data tables.