Westminster Council has failed in its bid to pass responsibility
for a destitute asylum seeker suffering from cancer to the National
Asylum Support Service (Nass).
The local authority said it should not have to pay for destitute
asylum seekers who were also in need of community care.
But the House of Lords upheld an Appeal Court ruling in April 2001
that the council must bear the cost of care for the Iraqi Kurd
woman at the centre of the case.
Lord Slynn, one of the five law lords who upheld the ruling, said
Nass should take responsibility for supporting only those whose
need for accommodation arose “solely” from destitution. Those with
a need for community care arising from illness were councils’
A spokesperson for the council said: “We are very disappointed with
“It seems extraordinary that the government, having recognised the
demand that supporting asylum seekers places on local authorities,
has turned its back on the most vulnerable in this manner.”