London councils are collectively facing around a £10
million gap in government funding for their asylum services
provided in 2003-4, it was claimed this week, writes
Caroline Highwood, assistant director of resources at Kent
Council’s social services department, added that her
authority was looking at an additional shortfall of around
£3.1 million for asylum services for the same period.
The local authorities concerned made “special
circumstances bids” to the government for extra money for
their asylum services for this period. But they have now learned
that the actual amounts they have been awarded are significantly
lower than their original bids.
Highwood said Kent had made a bid for £3.5 million but was
awarded just £377,000. London councils had collectively made
a bid for around £15 million but were awarded around £5
Kent has also put in a special circumstances bid for £4.9
million for its asylum services for 2004-5.
A Home Office spokesperson insisted that the maximum rates of
special circumstances payments were well established and that local
authorities should have been working within them.
He added that the Home Office would “continue to discuss
the issue of funding for asylum services with representative