HC Deb 11 January 2000 vol 342 cc123-4W
Mr. Dobbin

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what support he has offered to local authorities accepting asylum seekers. [104258]

Mrs. Roche

The Government have made special grants available to local authorities to help meet unavoidable additional costs incurred in accommodating and supporting asylum seekers under the Children Act 1989 and the National Assistance Act 1948 who are not otherwise entitled to social benefit. On a weekly basis, these grants are currently up to £150 for a single adult and £220 for a family. The responsibility for the payment of these grants—except those for unaccompanied asylum seeking children—passed to the Home Office in April 1999. Home Office officials have also provided direct support over the past year to the Local Government Association (LGA) and local authorities to devise and operate arrangements to disperse asylum seekers away from those areas under most pressure.

With effect from 1 April 2000, the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 provides for destitute asylum seekers and their dependants to be supported and accommodated by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS). Through regional consortia, local authorities will still have a key role to play in co-ordinating the provision of accommodation and support services to destitute asylum seekers in their area. To help achieve what is known as the enabling role, Regional Consortia will be eligible to receive up to £40,000 this year and up to £100,000 annually thereafter in grant.

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