IF ever you needed evidence that people are not coming to the UK for its generosity then the recent Home Office announcement in relation to asylum benefit and coronavirus is just that.

At the very beginning of lockdown, March 20 to be precise, it was announced that Universal Credit would be increased £20 per week to deal with the crisis. Foodbanks were closing, shops were stockpiled bare by those who could afford it and people who had been struggling before this all happened found themselves in an even more impossible situation. But the government actually appeared to recognise that and respond quickly with a workable solution… for some.

Twelve weeks later and those who fled their homes to seek safety here have just been told that they will receive an increase of £1.82 per week. Twenty-six pence a day to help them “deal with the crisis”. The only thing that I can think of that you can buy for that price is a Freddo!

There is an assumption made that when people come to the UK they are entitled to all sorts of things but this couldn’t be further from the truth and without the support from various community groups and third sector organisations people would not be able to survive on what is considered enough by the government.

First and foremost what people are entitled to is safety under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 14). This can ultimately be interpreted into housing and basic income.

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While no-one would share anything but gratitude for having a roof over their head, the housing is a no frills version of anything that is provided by the city council with additional furniture often being required and essential household items often completely missing or broken.

Whereas for many the replacement of kitchen utensils may not be an issue, for someone who is expected to live on just £37.75 a week every penny matters. Asylum support money is not the same as Universal Credit.

The Home Office conducted a survey of the spending habits of the poorest 10% of the British population and then drew from the figures collected that asylum support should equate to £5.39 a day; budgeting 55p a week on healthcare, £1.08 a week on toiletries and £3 on travel. But don’t worry pregnant mothers you’ll get extra so that you can ‘eat healthily’ during your pregnancy, a grand total of £3 a week.

I cannot see how it is possible to survive on the amount that people are being provided with without additional support from foodbanks, community meals and others.

And I don’t think anyone who is receiving Universal Credit would disagree as it’s almost impossible to make that income stretch, let alone under 50% of it.

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While the announcement to increase asylum support is a welcome one it cannot be seen as anything but a slap in the face that it is such a pitiful amount. I am under no disillusion that our current leadership have no understanding of the living costs of the many, however I still find it difficult to comprehend anyone justifying this increase as anything other than completely intentional, forced destitution.

People who have been forced to flee do not come here to prosper as too many, too often believe. There is no prospering on £37.75 or £39.60 a week.