Hi 'John' I'm not sure I follow your point about housing waiting lists, the lack of social housing in this country is a disgrace, but is an entirely different issue because asylum seekers aren't eligible for council housing or homeless hostels.
I also don't know which countries you had in mind when you talk about a 'zero tolerance policy' - the claim that Britain is a 'soft touch' and is somehow taking more than it's fare share of refugees, is a really common one, but just doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
The vast majority of people fleeing persecution don't even cross an international border - according to the UNHCR, in 2008 there were 26 million of these internally displaced people. You ask why David came to this country, but the vast majority of people like David from DRC don't come to the UK. The DRC is in the top ten countries in the world for numbers of internally displaced people, and of those who do cross an international border, most don't get further than a neighbouring country - 20 per cent of the world's 10.5 million refugees are in Africa.
In contrast, in 2008, there were 25,930 applications for asylum in the UK - to put that into perspective, that's 13 per cent of the total numbers of asylum seekers into the EU, and we are ranked 13th in the EU for asylum seekers per head of population. It seems that, far from others having a 'zero tolerance' policy, other countries have far more refugees than the UK.
I'm not sure your idea of not taking any more asylum seekers for the next twenty years is very sensible either. Firstly, usually refugees are only initially given leave to remain in the country for five years - not permanently. Secondly we have a treaty obligation under the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees - 147 countries worldwide are signatries to the Convention , flippin' Norah, John, even North Korea is a signatory! Are you seriously suggesting that we cede the moral high ground to North Korea!
Asylum policy is a really contentious area and so it's really imortant to ensure that opinions are based on facts, I firmly believe that if the general public were aware of the reality behind the tabloid headlines, we would be having a very different debate. Thanks for the article - it's good to know that inside Housing is covering these kinds of stories which have been ignored by many other newspapers.
All the statistics in thie post can be found at: