Fall in asylum seeker pay-outs in Doncaster

Minister James Brokenshire
Minister James Brokenshire
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More than 200 asylum seekers in Doncaster are receiving Government subsistence cash, parliament has been told - a fall on the previous year.

The figures were revealed by home office minister James Brokenshire in the House of Commons in response to a question by David Hanson, the shadow foreign office minister.

It means Doncaster currently has the fewest asylum seekers receiving the payments in South Yorkshire.

It was revealed that in total, Doncaster had 156 asylum seekers receiving the benefits at the end of June 2013. It rose to 226 at the end of June 2014, but had fallen back to 220 this February.

The highest number in the county was Sheffield, where the figure rose from 370 in 2013, to 550 in 2014, and then to 654 this year.

Barnsley’s figures rose from 236 in 2013 to 391 in 2014, and then to 394 this year. In Rotherham, the figure has fallen from 392 in 2013, to 342 in 2014, and to 334 this year.

Mr Brokenshire, minister in charge of security and immigration, said: “Support may be provided under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 to asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute until their asylum claim is determined. Section 95 support can be provided as both accommodation and subsistence, or accommodation or subsistence only.”

It was also revealed Doncaster Council paid out £23,000 last year to look after unaccompanied asylum seeking children.

Steve Reed, shadow communities minister, asked how much funding to support such children was provided to each local authority in the last financial year.

Mr Brokenshire said in 2014-15, £76.2m of funding was distributed to councils to support unaccompanied asylum seeking children.

The figure for Doncaster is lower than either Sheffield or Barnsley, as well as neighbouring North Lincolnshire.

Sheffield has the highest figure in South Yorkshire with £195,525, followed by Barnsley, with £68,089.

North Lincolnshire, which borders Doncaster, paid out £88,912, the minister told MPs. No figures were given for Rotherham.

Hundreds have contacted a new helpline to offer accommodation, food and schooling to refugees heading to Britain, the British Red Cross has said.

Advice on how to help is available from the Red Cross on 0800 107 8727. Financial donations can be made to the Europe Refugee Crisis Appeal on 0300 023 0825.