Section 4 support is given to refused asylum seekers who are destitute and meet narrow criteria for support. People on Section 4 have no access to cash. The support consists of accommodation on a no-choice basis, and £35.39 per week via the Azure payment card. The card is only accepted by a few retailers and can only buy food, essential toiletries, clothing and credit for mobile phones. The card cannot be used for travel or for items such as alcohol and cigarettes.
The Red Cross have just published an excellent report about the Azure Card – The Humanitarian Cost of a Cashless System: Azure Card Report 2014
Other reports are available on the ASHA website under “Resources”.