Lawrence and Ailsa attended on behalf of HBTSR and had an interesting but tiring day.
An early start traveling by coach meant we arrived in London at around midday, walked briskly to Parliament and queued to go through security. It was good to see many friends in the committee room and great to hear Hannah Sabatia who is a ShareTawe worker talking about her experience of being a destitute Asylum seeker with 2 children. She is a talented poet and read one of her poems about the restricted life led by someone with no money and little hope. She said how isolated, ashamed and lonely she was during the 8 years of asylum and how employment would have given her purpose, helped her to integrate and to pay for things her children needed.
Saba read one of her poems and agreed to pose for a photo with Ailsa. Saba was able to meet various Mps who agreed to write letters of support. T who also attended said she’d mentioned how most of her clothing had been provided by HBTSR.
Other speakers emphasised the long delays in having cases granted and the short period in which one is expected to obtain an NI number, a bank account and an address when refuge is granted. It was sobering to hear of the experience of proud people who when faced with having to pay with vouchers or an azure card would put the shopping back if people were around.They don’t want to be singled out.One man emphasised his desire to work, to earn money and to pay tax!
Key campaign requests are 1 that people seeking asylum should be granted permission to work after waiting 6 months for a decision on their case without restrictions on the work they undertake.
2 asylum support to be raised to at least 70% of income support
3. The move in period after being granted refugee status should be increased to at least 50 days to avoid any gaps in support
https://cityofsanctuary.org/…/13/sanctuary-in-parliament-2…/ gives link to briefing papers.
Do use these please to write to your MP.