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Welsh councils pull out of asylum deal ...
Welsh councils pull out of asylum deal

A consortium of 21 Welsh councils has pulled out of a deal with the Home Office to house asylum seekers.

The consortium, which consists of all councils in Wales except Cardiff, issued an ultimatum insisting the deal was signed or the Home Office should reimburse councils (LGC, 26 April).

Lead officer Graham Bingham said: 'We are continuing to ratchet up costs so the consortium has decided enough is enough.'

Mr Bingham wrote to National Assylum Support Service director Freda Chaloner to try and seal the contract which would have provided accommodation for around 2,000 asylum seekers, but Ms Chaloner failed to reply to two letters. A spokesman for NASS said: 'We hope to reach an agreement as soon as possible.'

But the Home Office prevarication has already cost Welsh councils around£175,000 and costs were increasing by£13,000 each month as negotiations dragged on.

The consortiuim, along with the Welsh Local Government Association and Welsh Assembly, is now seeking full reimbursement of the costs of setting up the ill-fated plans.

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