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Response to the EFRA Select Committee Inquiry into Food Supply During Covid19

Zoe Dexter

We have extensive experience in assisting our clients to ensure that amongst others their most basic needs are met, including access to food; a need which has overwhelmingly increased since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown measures.

Asylum seekers (and people recently granted leave to remain having claimed asylum, including newly recognised refugees) are particularly vulnerable to food poverty because of the extremely limited amount of financial support they receive from the Government (UK Visas and Immigration). Those in receipt of support under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 receive £37.75 per person per week (with an additional £3 if the applicant is pregnant, £5 for children under 1 and £3 for children under 3). The basic rate of support for those in receipt of support under Section 4(2) of the above Act is £35.39 per person per week, which cannot be spent in cash or at shops which do not accept VISA cards. In our experience working with clients who are predominantly in receipt of these types of support, this amount is insufficient to meet the applicant’s basic needs, and this is particularly the case during this unprecedented time of high general need for food and other essentials.

In response to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee’s call for evidence on Covid-19 and food supply, we have responded, focusing specifically the Committee’s second question: Are the government and food industry doing enough to support people to access sufficient health food, and are any groups not having their needs met? If not, what further steps should the Government and food industry take?

Click on the download link below to read our full response.