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Report says asylum support pushing families into poverty

Low levels of asylum support is pushing thousands of families into poverty.

That's the verdict of a new parliamentary inquiry, supported by The Children's Society, into the issue.

It's calling on the Government to ensure all children seeking safety here get the same benefits as anyone else. Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather led the inquiry.

She told Premier's News Hour how bad the situation is for many:

The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, said he's shocked by the lack of support and respect shown in this country to those who arrive in the UK looking for sanctuary and help.

He said: "Those seeking asylum in our country are coming here because they are scared.

"I was frankly shocked at the some of the stories we picked up in our report with witnesses telling us how officials would just let themselves into asylum seekers accommodation.

"On one occasion a child was downstairs in his home and was absolutely petrified."

Maggie Atkinson, Children's Commissioner for England said: "We remind the Government that, under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, they are required to ensure that all children, irrespective of nationality, ethnicity or immigration status are enabled and supported to survive and develop.

"Systems and processes for supporting children, and that includes those for asylum seekers, must be designed with their best interests as a primary consideration.

"It is clear from the shocking evidence gathered by the inquiry that the current support arrangements for children in asylum seeking families fall short of the Government's obligations under the Convention.

"I urge the Government to seriously and urgently consider the measured and sensible recommendations that have arisen from the inquiry which will go a long way to redressing the current unacceptable situation."

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