Regional Labour Party Office Occupied Now!

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shakedown*05
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Apr 1 2005 11:30
Regional Labour Party Office Occupied Now!

1st April 2005,

Labour Party office occupied in solidarity with 900 destitute asylum seekers.

A group of concerned people from around Nottinghamshire have occupied the Labour party’s regional office in Attenborough, Beeston today to urge their local MP’s to act on inhumane policies towards asylum seekers that leave many destitute. At the moment nearly 900 refugees in Nottinghamshire alone live in destitution. Most experience hunger, cannot afford to buy clothes or shoes and many are not able to maintain good health.

‘ Asylum seekers have often been through incredibly traumatic experiences, and we should be doing all we can to support them, rather than implementing fundamentally racist policies’ *

Many asylum seekers do not receive the basic support they may be entitled to, because the system is badly designed, extremely bureaucratic and poorly run. Loopholes allow people to fall through and be left unsupported by the government and destitute1. These asylum seekers are also denied the right to seek work and have to find ways to support themselves during their stay in the UK.

Destitute refugees are reliant on the support of their local communities to survive. Voluntary organisations and individuals are having to come to their aid. In Nottingham, destitute asylum seekers are lucky to have the support of the ‘Refugee Forum.’ This is an independent voluntary run organisation that has provided practical support to over 1500 asylum seekers and refugees2. Lack of funding threatens even these services, and the amount of money provided to each destitute asylum seeker has had to be cut from £5 per week to a meagre £2.50.

‘ The government’s policies are clearly inhumane, and we demand that local MP’s look into possibilities for organisations like the Refugee Forum to receive proper funding and to ensure that refugees receive the welcome that they deserve ’ *

* Quotes by the office occupiers

Notes to Editors:

1 For example, if the Home Office has decided not give a person asylum, but it is not safe for that person to return to their country of origin, they can neither leave, work nor access benefits. If a person receives a positive decision confirming their right to asylum, delays in benefits systems often means mainstream housing, or benefits are not immediately available.

2 Nottingham Refugee Forum provides essential services such as food, toiletries, vouchers for meals in community cafés, small cash payments and rarely, emergency accommodation.

3 This action is in support of the noise protest that will be held on Saturday April 2nd, on The Market Square, Nottingham, 12 – 2pm. This is organised by Nottingham Refugee Forum as part of the international day of action for asylum and migrant rights. More info at www.nottsrefugeeforum.org.uk,

Press contact on the day; Rob Peutrell: 0795 873 2450.

For more information:

The regional Labour Party Office; Harold Wilson House, 23 Barratt Lane, Attenborough, Nottingham, NG9 6AD, Tel: 0115 943 1777 Fax: 0115 943 1888, eastmidlands@new.labour.org.uk

Photos and a report of the occupation will be posted on www.indymedia.org.uk