A group of destitute asylum seekers is encamped on the Refugee
Council’s doorstep in Brixton, London, begging for food while
others are sleeping rough in nearby Croydon.
But no one should be surprised it is happening: vulnerable people
turned out on the streets was inevitable once the government pushed
through section 55 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act
2002. The denial of all support to those who fail to claim asylum
immediately on arrival in Britain is bound to lead to so many
reduced to such dire straits.
What else are they supposed to do? If you are forbidden from
working and you have no income the choice is begging, working
illegally or stealing.
Earlier this month the High Court ruled that three asylum seekers
had suffered “inhuman and degrading treatment” when they had to
sleep rough after being refused support. The result of the Home
Office’s appeal is expected within two weeks. If we are to avoid a
return to Dickensian poverty on our streets let’s hope the appeal