£750m Cost of housing asylum seekers…while 1.8m Britons languish on waiting lists
March 12, 2010 Friday
MORE than £750million of taxpayers’ money has been spent on providing homes for asylum seekers over the past four years, Whitehall figures revealed last night.
The huge sum lavished on council houses and other social homes for the families of foreign nationals claiming asylum here was disclosed in statistics released by the Home Office.
And the expenditure on accommodating claimants has been handed out while around 1.8million people – largely Britishborn – are languishing on waiting lists for council houses.
The latest figures, released in response to a Parliamentary Written Question from Tory frontbencher Grant Shapps, showed a total of £752million has been paid by the Home Office to social housing organisations since 2006. The figures show that £51.1million was paid to Glasgow City Council to provide homes for asylum seekers over the period.
Liverpool City Council was paid £14.3million, Nottingham City Council was paid £19million and Cardiff City Council was paid £14.5million.
Millions more were paid by the Home Office to housing associations and private property firms including Clearsprings, Angel Group and United Property Management.
Last night, angry critics said the figures were a massive blow to Gordon Brown’s pledge to put local families at the front of the queue for public services. Mr Shapps, Shadow Minister for Housing, said: “Gordon Brown’s pledge of British homes for British families has been exposed as an utter sham.
“We wouldn’t be running the risk of straining community relations had this Government not spent 13 years failing to build the homes we need.”
Matthew Elliott, of campaign group the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The asylum system is clearly flawed, and lets down both taxpayers and asylum seekers alike. “For a start, the time taken to process applications is far too long, meaning that by the time many cases are rejected the claimants have already run up a large bill for accommodation.
“Even when a case is approved, the default policy seems to be to place people on benefits for the long term, whereas we should be helping and encouraging everyone to learn English and get work.”
Separate Home Office figures showed that there were more than 24,000 asylum seeker families living in council accommodation at the end of last year.
Expenditure on social housing for asylum seekers has nearly doubled from around £132million in 200708 to £230million last year. Immigration minister Phil Woolas said: “It is an absolute priority that accommodation for asylum seekers provides taxpayers value for money.
“The Government is determined to reduce asylum costs, which is why support levels have halved in the past six years.”