HL Deb 26 July 1999 vol 604 cc137-8WA
Lord Alton of Liverpool

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their assessment of the cost of ad ministering the voucher scheme proposed in the Immigration and Asylum Bill compared with the cost of the present arrangements; and what account they have taken of overseas experiences with voucher schemes in introducing a voucher scheme in the United Kingdom. [HL3703]

Lord Williams of Mostyn

We have made no detailed assessment of the cost of administering the voucher scheme. However, one of the reasons we are contracting out the voucher scheme and subjecting it to competitive tender in the Autumn is to ensure that the administrative costs are kept as low as possible but consistent with the need for effective delivery of the service. It is not possible to make a comparison with the support arrangements provided by local authorities' social services departments because of the varying nature of those arrangements. Comparison of voucher schemes in other countries is of limited value, but the asylum support project team hopes to learn lessons from the experience in Germany.