Asylum seekers in Glasgow say they can’t live on the £5 a day allowance they get and campaigners want them to be allowed to work.

The British Red Cross has called for a new model of support to tackle destitution among those seeking refuge in Scotland.

People have said that while they get accommodation and bills paid the £5 a day cannot cover bus fares, food and essentials.

Alvina, a Zimbabwean woman seeking asylum in Glasgow, said: “We’ve always spoken out about how it’s next to impossible to live on £5 a day. You think to yourself what do I do?

“I need to go to the shop, I need to get nappies, I need to get wipes for my baby, I need to get food and I just don’t have the money to do that.

“That’s been really difficult. I can’t go anywhere, I have no money to get on the bus.”

Asylum seekers in Glasgow have been using food banks and soup kitchens in the city.

The British Red Cross wants the Scottish Government to fund a new support service, run by people who have been through the asylum process to point people in the right direction for advice and support.

It also wants the UK Home Office, which is responsible for asylum seekers to give asylum seekers the right to work while they wait on a decision whether they can stay or not.

They are asking for an initial cash grant to people entering the asylum support system, so they have start-up support to buy clothing, phones and essential items.

And they want the decision-making process to be improved and speeded up so people are not facing destitution as they wait for months, and even years, for a decision.

Asylum seekers dispersed from London are most likely to be moved to Glasgow or the north east of England.

The Red Cross said Glasgow has the most people seeking asylum with 3,904 in March 2021.

Phil Arnold, head of refugee services for Scotland at the British Red Cross, said:

“People who have been forced to flee their homes to escape war and persecution face many additional difficulties as they settle in the UK too.

“Destitution prevents people from living a healthy life, significantly affecting mental wellbeing, which is compounded by a lack of information and support to navigate the asylum system. Things are just not working as they should.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are taking actions where we can to improve support for people at risk of destitution.

“This includes delivering on our Ending Destitution Together strategy, which was published this year in partnership with COSLA and drew on the expertise and personal experience of the British Red Cross’s VOICES network.

“We are also providing £250,000 to support a Hardship Fund co-ordinated by British Red Cross, to provide crisis grants to people struggling to access support.”

A Home Office spokesperson said:“The UK has a proud record of supporting vulnerable asylum seekers and ensuring they have the resources they need to settle in the UK. We have a statutory duty to provide accommodation to all asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute and those in dispersed accommodation where they have to cater for themselves receive an additional asylum allowance.

“Asylum seeker right to work is a complex issue and is under review. Asylum seekers are permitted to work in jobs on the Shortage Occupation List if they have been waiting for a decision on their claim for more than 12 months, through no fault of their own. We aim to process all asylum claims as quickly as possible and through our New Plan for Immigration are working to fix our broken asylum system so we can provide quicker support those most in need.”