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ASYLUM POLICY 'RISKS RACIAL TENSIONS', SAYS AUDIT COMMISSION

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The policy of housing tens of thousands of asylum-seekers away from London and the south east of England has been c...
The policy of housing tens of thousands of asylum-seekers away from London and the south east of England has been condemned by the Audit Commission as a disaster that could raise racial tensions, reported The Observer (p2).

A report to be published on Thursday says the system is in danger of collapse unless there is an immediate injection of cash to help the regions cope with the new arrivals.

The report, Another Country, says that without support services people will drift back south, where they will be ineligible for benefits.

Under a compulsory scheme introduced by home secretary Jack Straw last month, asylum-seekers are to be transported in 'clusters' around the country to relieve pressure on the south east.

But a leaked copy of the Audit Commission report says evidence from voluntary schemes shows that by last March fewer than 2,000 asylum-seekers had been distributed against a target of 10,400.

One section reads: 'Inadequate support services outside london present a major barrier to dispersal.' The report concludes: 'Unless these barriers are overcome, problems will persist and could undermine the government's social exclusion objective.'

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