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Refugees

Volume 181: debated on Friday 23 November 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will conduct a review of the social security provisions which are currently applied to refugees newly arrived in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will increase the resources made available to publicise the availability of social security assistance available to refugees newly arrived in the United Kingdom.

We have no plans to do so. Adequate information is already available to newly arrived refugees and their advisers. All those refugees who do not already have contacts in the United Kingdom can turn for advice to the numerous refugee agencies, many of which receive Government funding.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what savings are made to the social security budget by reducing income support available to asylum seekers.

None. The income support budget takes into account the provision for asylum seekers allowed under the rules.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will issue new guidelines to his Department's local offices authorising the award of social fund grants to bona fide refugees newly arrived in the United Kingdom.

No. There is already guidance to local offices on social fund provision for refugees. They can apply for a crisis loan when they first arrive in the United Kingdom. If they receive income support they can apply for a community care grant. In both cases the social fund officer will consider the full circumstances of their claim before making a decision.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if he will make the full income support rate of payment available to asylum seekers newly arrived in the United Kingdom;(2) if he will increae the rates of income support presently offered to asylum seekers under the age of 25 years.

There are no plans at present for changes in the relevant income support rules.