HC Deb 09 May 2001 vol 368 cc163-5W
Mr. Ennis

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers have(a) been lost and (b) disappeared from the system since the introduction of the national dispersal and integration policy. [158801]

Mrs. Roche

If an asylum seeker who is supported by the National Asylum Support Service is found to have left their accommodation, support is withdrawn. We do not, however, keep statistics on the number of such cases.

Mr. Whittingdale

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers are located in Essex while awaiting determination of their application or appeal; and what estimate he has made of their total cost to(a) central Government and (b) local government funds. [159952]

Mrs. Roche

[holding answer 1 May 2001]: The available information comes from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS), which began supporting destitute asylum seekers entering the United Kingdom on or after 3 April 2000. NASS records information on the location of NASS supported asylum seekers by region and cluster area but not by county. Statistics from NASS, for the end of February 2001, show that for asylum seekers located in the east of England (which includes Essex) 40 asylum seekers (including dependants) had been allocated accommodation and 810 asylum seekers (including dependants) had been allocated voucher only support.

These figures may include some asylum seeker families who have received a final negative decision because families of asylum seekers are eligible to remain supported by NASS until removal.

Information is not available centrally on the location of asylum seekers not supported by NASS. Asylum seekers who entered the United Kingdom before 3 April 2000 are supported by local authorities.

Estimated expenditure on asylum support, including unaccompanied asylum seeking minors, in 2000–01 was £751 million (estimated final outturn)


  1. 1. Information on the costs of supporting asylum seekers in specific areas of the United Kingdom are not available.
  2. 2. Figures rounded to the nearest 10.
  3. 3. Costs rounded to the nearest £1 million.

Mr. Simon Hughes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the impact on local authority housing services of the maximum 14 day notice period within which people housed under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 must leave their accommodation after they receive a positive decision on their asylum claims; what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues about the Audit Commission's recommendation that this period should be reviewed; and if he will make a statement. [160663]

Mrs. Roche

No ministerial discussions have taken place about the 14 day period laid down in the Asylum Support Regulations 2000 during which asylum seekers remain eligible for National Asylum Support Service (NASS) support. This period was discussed and agreed with the Benefits Agency prior to the implementation of the legislation. However talks are currently taking place between NASS officials, the Benefits Agency and interested voluntary bodies about this period.

Mr. Brooke

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment his Department has made of the effect asylum seekers opting for support by voucher only are having on the housing shortage in London. [160794]

Mrs. Roche

No assessment of this sort has been made since where an asylum seeker applies for voucher only support he should already have accommodation, possibly with family or friends, available to him.

Miss Widdecombe

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected cannot be traced; and if he will make a statement.[159442]

Mrs. Roche

This information has never been collected centrally on a systematic basis, and could be obtained only by a special exercise to examine individual case files at a disproportionate cost.

Mr. Mitchell

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what additional financial provision is made for(a) health service provision, (b) education provision and (c) local government services in areas designated as cluster areas for asylum seekers. [159748]

Mrs. Roche

Health authority baseline allocations are intended to cover the health costs of local populations and these include asylum seekers coming into an area. For England, £600 million of additional funding was announced on 28 March 2000, which meant health authorities received average increases of 8.9 per cent. for the financial year 2000–01 (the minimum increase was 8.2 per cent). Separate arrangements apply for Scotland and Wales which each receive a consequential share of funding.

On 30 June 2000 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment announced that additional funding, up to £500 per pupil, would be available in the financial year 2000–01 to support the educational needs of children of asylum seekers in receipt of support from the National Asylum Support Service who have been dispersed to cluster areas. In 2000–01 a total of £1.3 million was allocated to schools who have received children of asylum seekers.

The grant in England is distributed to local authorities through standard spending assessments which take account of factors such as the size of the population and the number of children needing school places. The grant to a particular local authority will reflect an increase in the size of the population due to asylum seekers moving into that area.