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.
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.