HC Deb 04 November 2002 vol 392 c100W
Mr. Malins

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made for a full year of the cost of the withdrawal of the work concession to asylum seekers in(a) added benefit and (b) payments to detainees; and what he estimates to be the net difference in the costs to each removal centre of employing contract and agency labour in place of detainees working in cleaning and kitchens. [78484]

Beverley Hughes

[holding answer 31 October 2002]: We do not have figures on the additional costs, if any, of providing support to asylum seekers who can no longer seek permission to work. Internal management Information indicates that during the financial year 2001–02 we made initial decisions on the vast majority of new substantive applications within the initial six months. The number who might have been able to benefit from the concession is therefore much reduced.

The percentage of new substantive cases in 2001–02 which were decided within six months will be available from 29 November 2002 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigrationl.html

The work concession for asylum seekers did not extend to asylum seekers in detention.

Immigration detainees held in immigration Service removal centres have never been required to work nor are they expected to assist in the running of the centres.

Following their redesignation earlier this year as removal centres, the Prison Service detention facilities at Dover, Haslar and Lindholme ceased to operate under Prison Rules. As a consequence, detainees no longer had the opportunity to undertake paid employment in the centres and the practice of relying on such work for the provision of certain ancillary services came to an end. Work formerly undertaken by detainees at these centres has been contracted out or transferred to agency staff. For this year this has resulted in a net additional cost of £1.09 million. This will be met from the Immigration and Nationality Directorate's budget.