WSSAG Wales members were among the people seeking sanctuary and local supporters in central Cardiff on 11th December who to tested the new ‘Azure’ payment card provided by the UK Border Agency.
The card replaces the the old style Tesco vouchers that were given to some people seeking sancturary as their only means to support themselves and their families.
The Azure card was introduced this month for people seeking sanctuary in Cardiff who qualify for ‘Section 4’ support. This is a support given to people who the Home Office recognise cannot currently return to their country of origin. The Azure cards are topped up with £35 per week, though users of the card cannot receive change, obtain cash or use the card at shops other than Tesco, Sainsbury Asda, Boots and Peacocks
On attempting to use the card in Cardiff, they were not initially recognised in Peacocks and users felt excluded and criminalised when they were unable to pay for essential goods using the card in other stores.
The presence and support of Julie Morgan MP was massively noticed as she promised to get the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, involved in a better treatment of this particular vulnerable group of people.
The event was reported by BBC Wales and The Western Mail