Government subsistence payments to potential and confirmed victims of human trafficking will increase from today, 1 July 2020. The Home Office says that it is:
- Increasing the weekly payment to those in outreach support… from £35 to £39.60.
- Increasing the weekly payment for child dependents from £20.50 for the first child and £13.55 for each additional child, to £39.60 per child.
- Introducing new additional weekly payments for very young children:
- £5 per week up to the child’s first birthday
- £3 per week from the day after the child’s first birthday until their third birthday.
- Introducing new weekly payments of £3 for pregnant women.
- Introducing a new one-off maternity grant of £300…
This follows a legal challenge by the law firm Duncan Lewis, which says that its client relied on charity to supplement the £20.50 weekly payment to support her new baby. A victim of “horrific sexual abuse” at the hands of Chinese traffickers, the previous subsistence rates left her without “basic necessities” such as baby shoes, dummies and blankets.
The Home Office concession brings support payments for trafficking victims who are not claiming asylum in line with asylum support rates. The basic rate of asylum support went up to £39.60 a week on 15 June.
Duncan Lewis had argued that there was “no objective justification” for providing a lower level of support to victims of trafficking who aren’t in the asylum system. Solicitor Shalini Patel said, “I am very pleased that this challenge has resulted in a positive change which will impact so many victims of trafficking who are pregnant or have children”.