The UK Government has a responsibility to support refugees and asylum seekers, ensuring those seeking sanctuary in this country are treated with dignity and respect.
In addition, instead of having dedicated funding to achieve their humanitarian duties, the Government has chosen to use the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget.
The ODA budget is designed to fight poverty around the world. In choosing to support refugees and asylum seekers by taking funding from the ODA budget, the UK Government reduced the amount available for global poverty reduction by a further £3.7 billion last year. While legally permissible, this decision has decreased the UK’s global development programmes by around a third, weakening already overstretched resources and severely hampering the global effort to eradicate poverty.
When discussing ODA spending, it is important to recognise the often negative language used to describe support for refugees or asylum seekers as a “cost” or a “burden”. This rhetoric is incredibly harmful, and can deprioritise the much-needed support for these vulnerable groups. Support for refugees and asylum seekers is the right thing to do, and it deserves dedicated funding, rather than being taken from the UK’s already overstretched ODA budget.
This month, please write to your local media in support of UK efforts to help refugees and asylum seekers as well as the need to help reduce poverty around the world. Read our guide to writing to the media, and check out our social media guide and our blogs guide! And our Action Sheet gives all the information you need to use in your writing.
Image: Placards from the ‘Stop the Bill: Refugees Welcome’ demonstration at Parliament Square. Ruthie Walters / 2023