Disagreement over fall in applications

The number of asylum applications fell by 41 per cent last year,
according to the latest Home Office figures.

Some 103,080 asylum seekers, including dependants, applied for
asylum in 2002. In 2003 only 61,050 applied.

Home secretary David Blunkett said the drop was four times as much
as the average across the rest of the EU and that there was a 23
per cent increase in failed asylum seekers returned to their home

But Maeve Sherlock, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said:
“The world is not 40 per cent safer than it was a year ago and
there is evidence that people fleeing persecution are unable to get
sanctuary in Britain.”

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