Banning asylum seekers from working is not only a great social injustice, it’s economically illiterate. An asylum seeker receives £5.39 a day to live on – an allowance that needs to cover clothing, transport, food, personal hygiene and often the cost of their asylum application.
Last month’s Equality and Human Rights Commission report revealed the shocking reality asylum seekers are being forced to choose between medicine and food – a chilling vision which has no place in civil society and should be consigned to the pages of a Dickensian novel.
The UK has a long and proud history of welcoming those seeking sanctuary, as they flee from violence, persecution and despotic regimes. Yet asylum seekers continue to face a ban from working – a policy the home secretary has finally agreed to review (Report, 6 December).
The moral case for ending the ban is blindingly obvious: to lift tens of thousands of people out of destitution and give them the agency they deserve to rebuild their lives, support their families and contribute to the economy. This policy doesn’t need review, it needs to be abandoned.
Catherine West MP
Labour, Hornsey & Wood Green