Call to Action – the Aspen Card Crisis

10 June 2021

Add your name in support 

Over 80* refugee and migrant organisations, lawyers and academics across Scotland, Wales and England have signed an open letter to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, to raise questions about the ongoing Aspen Card Crisis and the card contractor PrePaid Financial Services.

Almost three weeks after the Payment Card changeover (from Sodexo to Prepaid Financial Services), asylum seeker families continue to be left without money for basics like food. Refugee and migrant organisations have been plunged into a full scale crisis trying to keep up with one emergency after another.

The Home Office has publicly sought to minimise the crisis, giving the impresson that the Aspen Card Crisis is a 4 day glitch affecting a small number of people . The crisis is affecting tens of thousands already impoverished people who dont have the resources to deal with an emergency because of a nonsensical, government-imposed impoverishment.

Yet, on Monday 7 June 2021, Permanent Secretary Matthew Rycroft MP told the Public Accounts Committee:

“There was an error on the card that did last for a short period of time, like for instance, a weekend but that has now been resolved.”

Here are the facts:

  • The crisis has not been resolved. It has been ongoing for almost three weeks, with no clear end in sight. 
  • Around 61,000 asylum seekers across the UK are “supported” by the Home Office (just over £5 a day – £1 a day for those in hotels)
  • There are 1,600 children in the asylum support system in Glasgow alone.
  • Asylum seekers are forced to depend on the Home Office for their housing and support.
  • They are forbidden to work, pay taxes or hold a bank account
  • They must wait months or years for the Home Office to make up its mind about their asylum claim. Doctors, teacher, academics, eminent historians and skilled workers – all desperate to contribute and be part of the community.
  • The people affected include

Call to Action

    1. Read the letter
    2. Now add your name in support here and we will update the letter.
    3. Write to your MP and any influential networks in our own words, refer to the open letter, and ask them to raise it in Parliament. Copy your correspondence to: The full contact details for the Home Secretary can be found here). Ask questions about the new card provider Prepaid Financial Services, and what due diligence checks were done.
    4. Share the link to the Call to Action on your social media using the hashtag #AspenCardCrisis
    5. Support refugee and migrant organisations working on the frontline by donating to their crisis funds.
    6. Donate to our Emergency Relief Fund via CAFJustGiving or PayPal Giving. Alternatively, post a cheque to: Positive Action in Housing, 98 West George St Glasgow G2 1PJ. For other ways to give, visit our donate page. Companies can ask us to invoice them by emailing us.
    7. Finally, watch out for updates on our blog and follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.  And please use hashtag #AspenCardCrisis and tag @positiveactionh

*Signatories include: Positive Action in Housing (Robina Qureshi), Scottish Refugee Council (Sabir Zazai – CEO), Welsh Refugee Council (Andrea Cleaver), Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (Satbir Singh), Refugee Action (Tim Naor Hilton), Brighton Migrant Solidarity (Jacob Berkson), Berlow Rahman Solicitors (Jelina Berlow Rahman), Free Movement (Colin Yeo), Freedom From Torture (Fiona Crombie), Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group (Karris Hamilton) Jesuit Refugee Service UK (Sarah Teather), Migrants Organise (Brian Dikoff) and West London Welcome (Joanne MacInnes, Leyla Williams)

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