A CROSS-PARTY investigation has condemned the UK Government for putting thousands of refugees at risk of homelessness and destitution.

Calling for improved levels of funding, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Refugees said Westminster should learn from the positive example of the integration scheme in Scotland.

The panel of peers and MPs found that a “two-tier system” had developed for refugees and slammed the axing of support just 28 days after an asylum seeker’s status is confirmed.

“Throughout our inquiry we were told by refugees and organisations that support them that the 28-day period – known as the “move-on” period – is too short,” the report said. “Coupled with the lack of support for refugees to navigate the social security system and private housing market, the brevity of the move-on period leaves too many newly- recognised refugees homeless and destitute.”

“Drastic” cuts in funds for courses teaching English language were also criticised as was the “regrettable” lack of an integration policy.

More than 50,000 people have entered the UK as refugees claiming asylum since 2012, but they have been given less support than the 10,000 entering the country through the government resettlement schemes.

As well as better support and improved funding for learning English, the report recommends the appointment of a new cross-department minister to put in place improved policies for refugees.

“A refugee is a refugee however they were granted status,” said the APPG’s chairwoman, Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire. “Most will want to return home when conflict is over and in the meantime want to contribute to this country.

“These are often skilled professionals and, by definition, they all have strengths and determination to offer.

“But there are administrative flaws in the system which could be easily fixed. Creating a two-tier system for refugees, loading the dice against people who come here to build a new life, is not just the wrong thing to do, but a costly missed opportunity for Britain.

“The UK can learn from the positive examples of the resettlement programme and the Scottish integration scheme to enable refugees to contribute and feel welcomed.

Refugees bring so many talents and skills – they just need the opportun-ities to unlock their potential.”

The group’s vice-chairman Tory MP David Burrowes: “For too many refugees, being granted their status is the beginning of a period characterised by homelessness and destitution. Protection must mean more than just a piece of paper.”

Stephen Hale, chief executive of charity Refugee Action, said the report was “a timely wake-up call”.

“The new government must seize the opportunity to enable all refugees in Britain, regardless of how they arrive, to successfully rebuild their lives,” he said.

“English language classes are critical to this. All parties should commit to increase funding for this in the next parliament, so refugees’ skills and experiences can enrich our culture and benefit our economy.”