HC Deb 25 November 1999 vol 339 cc178-9W
Mr. Ian Stewart

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements he will make for the payment of £50 per person for all asylum applicants who remain in the new support system for more than six months. [100433]

Mr. Straw

I announced during the passage of the Immigration and Asylum Bill that where asylum seekers remained on the main support system in part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (which is due to come into effect on 1 April) for more than six months through no fault of their own, they would be eligible for an additional payment of £50 per person in order to obtain replacement items such as clothes, shoes and other essentials. This payment will not be available to those who are on the statutory interim arrangements (in schedule 9 to the Act), nor will it apply to those who are in receipt of social security benefits. The six-month period will not begin until an asylum seeker has been accepted for support under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Asylum seekers will need to apply for the additional provision setting out the length of time that they have been in the support system and indicating the items which they need to replace. This information will act as a prompt to the payment of the additional provision, but also as a survey to enable us to review the amount to be paid and the purposes for which it is to be used. Once an application has been received, due consideration will be given provided there is no evidence that the asylum applicant has failed to comply with the asylum support procedures or has actively sought to frustrate or delay progress on the asylum application.