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Hansard 11 Nov: Column 755 ...
Hansard 11 Nov: Column 755

Large urban local authorities were unable to cope with the influx of asylum seekers, home office minister Lord Williams of Mostyn told the lords yesterday.

He was replying to Lord Janner who said that while it was important to deal firmly with bogus asylum seekers, the country had an honourable tradition of trying to help genuine applicants and the government had to find a fair balance. He asked Lord Williams to consider the policy - which he thought was applied too often - of removing people during consideration of their application to areas away from their communities and families. That caused great misery and distress.

Lord Williams replied: 'We receive many representations which are soundly based and some of the large metropolitan authorities are not able to cope with the strain and burden.

'Our policy is to offer decent housing outside the great urban conurbations, bearing in mind that one does not wish to leave people isolated and it is preferable if they are with people of the same coiuntry of origin. We simply cannot use the great authorities as dumping grounds for people with whom thay are not able to cope'.

Baroness Ludford asked whether there should be national arrangements to support refugees, instead of leaving the matter to local authorities, putting them and their communities under strain.

Lord Williams said most of the reforms suggested were mentioned in the white paper currently out for consultation, but he emphasised he could not anticipate the queen's speech.

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