Laura Sharman 18 February 2020

Extending support for refugees could save millions, research finds

Helping new refugees for longer could help save the public purse millions of pounds every year, new research has revealed today.

Research by the London School of Economics and Political Science finds that the cost of extending support for new refugees from four to eight weeks could save £7m each year. This saving is three times the cost of the extra support.

The Red Cross, who commissioned the research, warns that the current policy of only giving refugees four weeks to vacate asylum accommodation is leaving thousands of refugees in extreme poverty and homelessness.

The calculations by LSE show that the proposal would save local authorities more than £2m a year in temporary accommodation costs, while the need for less NHS interventions would save up to £1m each year.

Preventing rough sleeping would also save the public purse up to £3.2m each year, it showed.

Dr Bert Provan, lead researcher at LSE said: ‘Successfully moving from asylum accommodation and subsidy payments can be difficult, highly stressful, and time consuming. This research not only suggests that giving people more time could reduce the risk of homelessness and destitution, but also result in a wide range of financial savings to the public purse.'

Naomi Phillips, director of policy and advocacy at British Red Cross, said: ‘This isn’t about overhauling the whole system but creating one small and simple change to extend that period of support from four to eight weeks, which would not only prevent refugees from falling into unnecessary destitution, but which would almost certainly offer significant cost-savings to some of our most stretched services and communities.’

Photo: Victor Moussa / Shutterstock.com

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