Councils lose out on asylum funds

    London councils are collectively facing around a £10m gap in
    government funding for their asylum services provided in 2003-4, it
    was claimed this week.

    The local authorities concerned made “special circumstances bids”
    to the government for extra money to the tune of £15m but have
    now learned that they have been awarded only £5m.

    Meanwhile, Caroline Highwood, an assistant director at Kent’s
    social services department, said that her own authority’s shortfall
    was around £3.1m for the same period. She said Kent had made a
    bid for £3.5m but has been awarded just £377,000. Kent
    has also put in a bid for £4.9m 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.

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