Helping asylum seekers? Waste of taxpayers’ money, says the Daily Express

Three things the Express leaves out as it ignores asylum seekers' humanity


What would be your first reaction to news the government is cutting support for asylum seekers, shaving the measly sum they now receive down to £36.95 per week?

Presumably you would sympathise with the people directly affected.

Not so the Daily Express, which today welcomes the cuts on its front page.

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The story, ‘Asylum seekers cost you £786 million’, adds up all the money allegedly spent on support for asylum seekers over the last five years, (not just last year, as the headline and subhead might imply).

Let’s assume for now this figure is accurate. £786 million is a more impressive figure than £37 a week, and a clever way of presenting the news from the paper’s perspective.

However, the ‘Look at what they get, what about us Brits?’ position dissolves on contact with air, as this figure is dwarfed by the billions the government spends on, well, everyone else, including Daily Express readers.

The story is almost a self-parody. After complaining that basic support for people fleeing war and destitution, including children, is effectively a rip off, the Express then quotes its three favourite sources, Migration Watch, the Taxpayers’ Alliance and UKIP, who all say what they always say about everything.

As horrible as this is, the sins of omission are arguably worse.

1. The Daily Express follows the usual rules by ignoring asylum seekers’ humanity.

Nowhere in the piece do you learn what life is actually like for asylum seekers in Britain. Most asylum seekers are living in poverty and unable to pay for basic requirements like clothing, powdered milk and nappies.

Far from being too generous, Britain is very callous about granting asylum. Despite people drowning in the Mediterranean, the UK has rejected 72 percent of asylum claims this year.

2. The Daily Express fails to explain why the demand for asylum is increasing. 

The story closes by noting: ‘The rising care bill reflects the growing numbers of would-be refugees arriving here’, adding that there were more asylum applications in 2014 than in 2010.

What it doesn’t tell you is why. Leaving out the context – what Amnesty International calls the worst refugee crisis since the second world war – is very handy if you want to avoid readers empathising with the victims.

3. The Daily Express fails to quote anyone critical of the cuts for balance. 

The selection of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Migration Watch and UKIP (who Richard Desmond is is bankrolling to the tune of £1 million) tells you all you need to know about the paper’s emphasis.

By contrast, other coverage quoted the Refugee Council, which actually knows (and cares) about asylum seekers.

Why leave them out? Perhaps because the Refugee Council called the cuts ‘shameful’:

“It’s utterly appalling that the government has chosen to exacerbate the suffering of people who are already living in desperate situations.

[…] We suspect the only place that families can live on this amount of money is in the imagination of government ministers.”

Lucky for those government ministers there are papers like the Express to ‘speak up for the concerns of ordinary people’.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

Read more: 

The migrant babies are back! Daily Express looks with terror on tiny ‘foreigners’

Memo to the press on Med crisis: UK rejected 72 per cent of asylum claims this year

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7 Responses to “Helping asylum seekers? Waste of taxpayers’ money, says the Daily Express”

  1. JoeDM

    Well done the Daily Express !!!!

    The message needs to go out to government loud and clear. SEND THEM BACK !!!

  2. stevep

    No, let them stay. They`ll help widen the gene pool of the UK. If your comment is anything to go by, it could do with some help!

  3. GhostofJimMorisson

    EU freedom of movement, combined with unprecedented levels of immigration over the past 15-20 years, has hardened the hearts of many Brits. I personally (as does Nigel Farage, incidentally) would like to see a reduction in the number of low skilled EU migrants in favour of those fleeing genuine persecution. With our population increasing by some 400,000 every year, with public services and benefits being reduced, is it any wonder the appetite for more immigration is so low.

  4. Cole

    Can’t have people fleeing from war and tyranny here in the UK can we? Let’s just be nasty selfish bastards.

  5. Frankie D.

    Wow! You’re a cunt!

  6. damon

    The aylum system was overwhelmed by people claiming it who weren’t actually genuine.
    So much of the country lost sympathy. It’s understandable.
    We have had so many asylum seekers over the years, and so much scamming of the system that parts of our cities have changed quite profoundly.
    Even today we here of Somali girls going back to Somalia on holiday were said to be in danger of harm back there. Not from wars which their parents had supposily fled, but from their own cultural practices of FGM. If that’s what some of the parents are like they should stay in Somalia as most people don’t want people like that in the UK. Particularly if their country is safe to go back to now.


    How do you know that some of the Islamic asylum seekers are not going to wage war and attempt to impose Islamic tyranny on us. Better safe than sorry maybe! After all the islamist nutters in Britain are second and third generation and preaching hatred against us inspite of our kindness and stupidity.

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