HC Deb 25 October 1999 vol 336 c684W
Mr. Baldry

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms he intends to be used to rehouse refugees throughout the United Kingdom; what consultations he or his Department have had with local authorities; and if there will be extra funding for local authorities to assist with the housing and other costs of accepting refugees. [94951]

Mrs. Roche

The Department has been in extensive consultation with the Local Government Association, the Association of Local Government and a variety of local authorities about the new support arrangements for asylum seekers in Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Bill which are due to come into effect in April 2000, and the statutory interim arrangements in Schedule 8 of the Bill which are due to come into effect shortly after Royal Assent.

For the statutory interim arrangements, the Government have invited local government to devise a voluntary dispersal scheme which will enable asylum seekers to be dispersed to cluster areas around the country so that no single local authority bears a disproportionate burden. The statutory interim arrangements will underpin this scheme. The statutory interim arrangements also include provisions which will enable dispersal to take place if there is no voluntary scheme in operation.

From April 2000, the new support arrangements will enable the Department to provide support in cluster areas around the country and to disperse to those cluster areas asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute and who claim the full support package.

For the period of the statutory interim arrangements, local authorities will be able to claim up to £150 per week for single adults and up to £220 per week for families who are being supported. When the new support arrangements are implemented, the Home Office will bear the costs of the provision of support (including accommodation, vouchers, cash, interpreter services and travel).