Lords must block bill to cut asylum-seeker benefits, charities say

Charities called on the Lords to block the government’s
plans to withdraw support from asylum-seeker families and
potentially take their children into care, writes Amy

An amendment removing the proposals from the Asylum and Immigration
(treatment of claimants etc) Bill was being debated and voted on at
report stage in the House of Lords on Tuesday. The Refugee
Children’s Consortium, which includes Barnardo’s and
The Children’s Society, said that if the proposals became law
there would be a repeat of the recent chaos in asylum cases of
people from the EU Accession States who had benefits

The charities also wanted the government to stop detaining children
under immigration act powers. An amendment to create an independent
assessment of a detained child’s welfare, developmental and
educational needs was also being debated.

In her report on an inspection of Dungavel Immigration Removal
Centre published in August 2003, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne
Owers said that there should be an independent assessment of the
welfare needs of detained children. She added that this should be
carried out “as soon as practicable after detention”
and repeated at regular intervals thereafter. The charity Bail for
Immigration Detainees said that despite this the government had
failed to take any “concrete action”.

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