GREEN MEP WARNS AGAINST ASYLUM SEEKERS VOUCHER SCHEME
As Ministers prepare to ask the Commons for approval on the return of
the controversial asylum voucher system, UK Green MEP, Jean Lambert,
reacted angrily to the proposals that she feared would destroy any
progress made over the last five years.
Jean, who has worked closely with asylum seekers for a number of years
warned that the vouchers would not only attach a stigma to asylum
seekers but would restrict access to the basic supplies people need to
survive. Jean commented; “Cash benefits for asylum seekers were
reinstated after the original voucher system proved to do more damage
than good. Without dramatic changes we will simply end up facing the
same difficulties we did five years ago.
“The government acts as if asylum seekers have nothing to offer our
society or our economy and restricts their right to work forcing them to
claim any benefits they can. These benefits are however provided at a
miserable level, designed to rob people of their self-respect and
personal autonomy and the voucher system certainly succeeds in
stigmatising their bearers.
“I welcome the fact that, at long last, the Government has recognised
that some people’s situations are simply too dangerous to return to.
However asylum seekers qualifying for ‘hard case’ support, receiving the
vouchers, are not criminals and should not be punished through the
rationing of food, drink and everyday essentials. It is high time the
government treated asylum seekers as people with a right to life, not
simply as numbers.”