Cuts Watch #362: Refugee services to take a heavy hit due to 62% funding cuts
The Refugee Council is the largest independent refugee charity in the UK. It provides advice and assistance to asylum seekers and refugees in London, the East of England, West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside. The Guardian informs us today that the Refugee Council is to have its government funding cut by almost 62% with cuts to frontline services beginning “almost immediately” and fully implemented in three months’ time.
The charity, which relies on the UK Border Agency (UKBA) for 78% of its £20.1m revenue, will have to lose around one third of its 300 staff and close two of its seven centres to meet the cuts of 61.7%. It has already sustained 22% cuts to its government funding, resulting in 52 redundancies as well as making cuts of between 60% to 27% to a number of key services, including the help it offers unaccompanied children.
Chief executive Donna Covey said:
The speed and the size of the cuts make it impossible to adapt our services quickly enough to stop people falling through the gaps……. Our clients will either not receive the help they need to accurately make their asylum applications – which means they will be wrongly returned to murderous regimes – or they will be trapped in a limboland of delays, during which they will often be forced into destitution.
The cuts will see:
- Funding for the Refugee Council’s one stop service, where refugees can meet bilingual advisers, cut by 62% to £2m;
- The wraparound initial accommodation facility will see reductions of 50% to £726,000;
- The Refugee Integration and Employment Service (RIES) will end completely in September 2011.