Authorities to subsidise asylum blitz
Councils will have to foot the bill for housing thousands of asylum seekers granted leave to remain, as part of a government blitz on 450,000 files.
Letters circulated by the Border & Immigration Agency reveal that local authorities will have to pay the full cost of temporary accommodation for successful applicants.
The agency will contribute £100 to the removal costs when families have to move from one of its homes to the private rented sector.
Councils will, however, not qualify for the payment if refugees are moved into their own temporary accommodation.
'The BIA will consider requests from local authorities to reimburse unavoidable additional transitional [sic] costs incurred,' a letter from Emily Miles, a BIA project director states.
'No removal costs will be paid for a family moving into, or subsequently out of, local authority temporary accommodation. No cost of temporary accommodation (provided under a local authority's statutory duties or other
powers) will be reimbursed.'
The compensation agreements have been brokered to help councils cope with a surge in housing demand as the BIA steps up efforts to reduce a backlog of asylum seekers' cases.
Up to 7,000 families have now been granted leave to remain as part of the first phase of the review (Inside Housing, 19 October).
A letter circulated to local authority chief executives from the BIA states that its 'aspiration' is to ensure that 'no one need go through the homelessness mechanism'.
'The Home Office welcomes the effort which will be made by local authorities to support and assist families leaving asylum support to remain in their existing home,' the letter states.
The agency will try to convince its network of private accommodation providers to move their properties to the private rented sector or allow local authorities to use them as temporary accommodation.
'We see our role as liaising with and encouraging our providers and sub-contractors to discuss options with individual local authorities. We will make it clear that we are keen to encourage this,' the letter states.
One London local authority source said that the cost of support, administration and social services provision for successful asylum seekers could prove expensive. These services would not qualify for reimbursement.
A cap on housing benefit in the capital would mean London councils would suffer a disproportionate cost compared with authorities in the rest of the country, he added.