Taxpayers funding beds that lie empty

    Just over 7,500 beds in properties reserved for asylum seekers
    are empty at the taxpayer’s expense, according to the latest
    figures.

    Regeneration minister Lord Rooker told the House of Lords that
    the National Asylum Support Service (Nass) had been paying for “too
    many empty properties”.

    Last June the Home Office admitted there was a problem. At that
    time there were reported to be 25,000 empty homes costing more than
    £100m a year.

    Of the 22 contracts Nass has with housing providers, 14 are due
    to expire between March and November and the rest will end in
    2006.

    The properties are empty due to a large decline in the number of
    people applying for asylum.

    Manchester Council is the only housing provider to have
    approached the Home Office about using some of the empty properties
    for a different client group – mostly homeless people. It would no
    longer receive money from Nass for properties used for different
    groups.

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