Afghan refugees fleeing their homes will have just £39.63 per week, or £5.64 per day to live on, in the UK.
Asylum seekers can use this money to pay for food, toiletries, clothes and other essential items. Most refugees will not be able to work in the UK yet, and will live in homes free of charge.
Many of the 20,000 refugees allowed under the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme are women, children and those from other religious minorities whom the Taliban pose a danger to life.
What can £39.63 a week buy you?
Depending on where you shop, the amount of food varies. Meal deals include a sandwich, bottled drink and a snack of either crisps or fruit. These are available from various supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons and Co-op and start at £3.00. This leaves a surplus of £1.64 to spend per day. Clothes, shoes, sanitary items, cleaning products and other essential items are not included.
Charities are advocating for more help be given to Afghan refugees, who fled Afghanistan wearing just the clothes they arrived in, and no basics such as toothbrush or toothpaste. Many arrived wearing just flip-flops, or were shoe-less in their bid to flee to safety.
Charities continue their call for donations to help the newly displaced. The Refugee Council has already raised £170,874 which will help refugees with mental health support, employment assistance to restart careers, children’s services and education, English and integration classes, destitution and homelessness support.
Operation Warm Welcome launched by the government will be spearheaded by the new Minister for Afghan Resettlement, Victoria Atkins. The support provided will be similar to the commitments in the Syrian Resettlement Programme, to help refugees get vital health and educational support needed to fully integrate into society.
Supporting, acclimatising and finally integrating refugees into British society are key priorities that have been outlined by the UK government.
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “We’re looking at how can we have an enhanced level of English language training, how can we ensure people will get into the workplace as quickly as possible and how can we comprehensively introduce people’s knowledge and understanding to the country and its values so they can contribute fully to British life.”
Where will Afghan refugees go?
Details of settlement areas have not been released and are still being drawn up, whilst local authorities are expected to take the lead on volunteering to accept refugees. Eventually refugees will have a choice where to relocate, choosing places that may have an already established Afghan community. For now, they will go where local authorities have offered residence.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is one of the first to publicly pledge support for the city’s councils and housing associations to support the arrival of Afghan refugees.
In a letter to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick MP, the Mayor requested financial support to help boroughs provide accommodation, healthcare and education to refugees, as well as settle into their communities. He also requested refugees be granted permanent residence in the UK, in order to foster trust and establish a long-term future in the UK.
The government will be making £10 million available to charities and humanitarian organisations including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
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