Socialist Worker

Scrap new labour's vicious voucher scheme

Issue No. 1705

Scrap new labour's vicious voucher scheme

SUPERMARKETS ACROSS the country are being targeted by campaigners in support of refugees. Stores like Tesco and Sainsbury's profit from New Labour's voucher scheme for refugees. It is run by the private firm Sodexho.

Refugees have to live on vouchers worth around 36.54 a week. Shops can rob some of this meagre amount by not giving refugees any change from their vouchers.

The government's motive behind the scheme is very clear. Jack Straw, the home secretary, confirmed on Tuesday of last week, "We believe providing support for destitute asylum seekers in kind, rather than cash, is integral to our strategy to deter economic migration."

So New Labour is forcing desperate refugees into crushing poverty as an example to others of how brutally refugees are treated in Britain. Oxfam is one of the organisations which has been outraged at New Labour's treatment of refugees. Oxfam spokesperson Matt Grainger said, "There are 19,000 retailers participating in the voucher scheme. When you start adding up a few pence each can get from the vouchers, you start looking at a huge amount of money sucked away from asylum seekers into the high street tills. That's how Sodexho sold the scheme in the first place-as a money-making opportunity."

  • For more information on the Oxfam campaign write to Oxfam Campaigns, 274 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 7YZ.

Only way

A STUDY for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says New Labour is fuelling the trafficking of refugees because asylum seekers cannot come to Britain legally.

Refugees who are desperate to get into Britain are forced to hide in boats or the back of lorries, like the 58 Chinese people found dead in Dover three weeks ago. The UN report, released on Friday of last week, says many of those smuggled into Britain go on to be accepted as genuine refugees.

UN commissioner John Morrison says, "Stop calling people illegal migrants or aliens if in fact you know these people are refugees legally entitled to asylum."

THE HIGH street robbers involved in Sodexho's voucher scheme include: Clothes shops: C&A, JJB Sports, Mothercare, Benson's shoes, Peacocks. Food stores and shops: Iceland, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Somerfield, Kwik Save, Asda, Morrisons, Co-op, Woolworths, Poundsland, Lloyds chemist.

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Sat 15 Jul 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1705
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