01 Feb Increase to additional weekly payments for pregnant women seeking asylum and their young children
Our client, a pregnant woman with a 2 year old child, made an application for a judicial review of the Home Office’s refusal to increase the rate of additional payments made to pregnant women and their children under 3 years old. These payments, made under regulation 10A of the Asylum Support Regulations 2000, were introduced in 2003 and had never been reviewed or increased. The payments were £3 per week for a pregnant woman and a child age 1 or 2 years old, and £5 for a child under 1 year old.
The Court granted our client permission to rely on a witness statement from Rosalind Bragg, Director at Maternity Action, on the nutritional needs of asylum-seeking pregnant women, new mothers and babies and the cost of living crisis, as well as an expert report from econometrician Dr Robert O’Neil, on food inflation since 2003 and how this impacts poorer people. The Home Office agreed to include regulation 10A payments in its annual review of the general support rates for the first time. The Court also granted our client permission to pursue her judicial review claim to a final hearing, but stayed the claim pending the outcome of the review.
The Home Office has announced that the regulation 10A payments will be increased to match the Healthy Start rates, plus an additional amount for vitamins, to £5.25 for pregnant women and children age 2 to 4, and to £9.50 for children under 1. The Asylum Support (Amendment) Regulations 2023 came into force on 15 January 2024. Thousands of pregnant women and young children will benefit from this. Following this, the judicial review has been successfully settled.