HC Deb 28 March 1983 vol 40 cc1-2W
Mr. Best

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what response he has made, or intends to make, to representations by refugee organisations in the United Kingdom for further funding for expert advice and counselling of refugees;

(2) what payments he has made to which refugee organisations in the United Kingdom in respect of counselling and advice for refugees.

Mr. Waddington

I regret that it is not possible to say precisely what proportion of the sums paid to refugee organisations has been used to fund expert advice and counselling. In the financial years 1979–80 to 1981–82, payments totalling nearly £2.0 million were made by the Home Office to voluntary organisations concerned with the reception and resettlement of Vietnamese refugees. These organisations were the British Council for Aid to Refugees (latterly the British Refugee Council), the Save the Children Fund (subsequently replaced by Refugee Action) and the Ockenden Venture.

Most of this money was spent by the organisations in providing reception facilities and, later, housing for refugees; but an unidentifiable smaller proportion went to provide advice and support for Vietnamese by then settled in the community or for those who were concerned with meeting their special needs. In the current financial year, some £824,000 has been made available to the refugee organisations.

Since, by this time, most Vietnamese refugees have left the reception centres, most of this sum is being spent on advice and support services. In response to requests from the refugee organisations, it has been agreed that a further £580,000 will be made available to them in the financial year 1983–84; and it is expected that the greater part of this money will again be spent on providing advice and support.