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COURT THREAT PROVOKES TEMPORARY U-TURN OVER ASYLUM SEEKERS

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The government last night lifted the imminent threat for 13,000 asylum seekers faced with losing benefit, reports T...
The government last night lifted the imminent threat for 13,000 asylum seekers faced with losing benefit, reports The Guardian (p2).

Social security secretary Peter Lilley's concessions were designed to head off a back bench Tory revolt and possible high court action from local authorities, says the paper.

Mr Lilley announced a 'transitional package' that means asylum seekers who had lodged claims since October will continue to benefit until their claims and appeals are rejected.

But he said that from 8 February new applicants who don't make a claim as soon as they arrive in the country will lose their right to claim benefits.

The Guardian reports that he is pressing ahead with plans despite a highly critical report from the social security advisory committee which warned yesterday that they were 'potentially racially divisive.'
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