Two motions were passed by Liverpool City Council on 18th September 2013. One supporting and endorsing City of Sanctuary, and another motion against the destitution of refused asylum seekers and the need for a change in national policy.
City of Sanctuary Motion
The council pledges to:
• Support local people in welcoming and helping new communities to integrate into local and civic society.
• Recognise the positive contribution migrants make to the social, cultural and community life of Liverpool.
• Support community and voluntary organisations in assisting in this process.
Motion Against Destitution
Liverpool became the 7th city council to pass a motion against destitution. The motion expresses concern for asylum seekers forced to live without support, accommodation, or permission to work, and the need for a change in national policy.
See Still Human Still Here for more information on the national campaign to end the destitution of refused asylum seekers.
Full motion (sourced from Dignity Not Destitution WordPress):
Asylum Seekers by Councillor Pat Moloney
‘Council recognises the plight of asylum seekers forced to flee their home countries for expressing political or religious opinions which offend their governments, or after having suffered persecution because they belong to a targeted minority. As a result of exercising their human right of free speech in their own countries, individuals may have received death threats, suffered beatings or torture and threats to their family members, and have been forced then to abandon their homes, their country and all their possessions.
Here in Britain, if their asylum claims are refused by the Home Office, they lose financial support and right of access to accommodation. Current laws also prevent them from working. Adult asylum seekers can be left in a cycle of deprivation and poverty that is impossible to break out of. Many are forced into homelessness on the street, and become entirely dependent on the generosity of others.
Council further calls on the Mayor, the Council Cabinet and Chief Executive to address this situation by taking the following actions:
1. Write on behalf of Council to the Minister of State for Immigration deploring Government policies that force “all rights expired” asylum seekers into destitution while they continue to fight for a safe haven from persecution; seeking a change of policy to allow local authorities to assist refused asylum seekers who are in danger of falling into destitution; asking that such asylum seekers should be able to work to support themselves; and demanding that local authorities should be permitted to provide emergency provision to refused asylum seekers as to other homeless people.
2. Ask Liverpool’s MPs to support the spirit of this motion, to raise the matter in the House of Commons, and to support a change in current laws regarding asylum applications by removing restrictions on local authorities in the support they can provide to destitute asylum seekers.
3. Council officers to produce a report summarising existing support for asylum seekers available in Liverpool including housing, training, education, and legal advice open to vulnerable asylum applicants.
4. The council should continue to work closely with the voluntary sector through a designated officer to provide help, support and advice to asylum seekers and enable a coordinated response to be easily available to those in need at this vulnerable time of their lives.
5. Council to join the national campaign “Still Human, Still Here” (a coalition of 29 organisations, including the Church of England and Catholic Archbishop Conferences, Amnesty International and the Red Cross, who are proposing practical solutions to ending the destitution of refused asylum seekers in the UK.) Council to seek further support for this motion and action via the Local Government Association and by encouraging other Councils in the UK to join us on this issue.’