Councils want early section 9 decision

Councils are frustrated by the length of time it is taking the government to decide on the future of its policy that withdraws money
and housing from failed asylum sekers who refuse to return home.

Many of the councils piloting section 9 of the Asylum and mmigration Act 2004 are refusing to implement the policy and are
supporting whole families at their own expense rather than making them destitute by withdrawing support. The children of these failed asylum seekers can be taken into care if their families can no longer support them.

The policy has been piloted since December 2004 in three parts of England – central and east London, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire – but the government has yet to decide on its future. An evaluation was expected to be published in June but has been delayed.

Keith Mann, executive member for neighbourhood management at Salford Council, which is covered by the pilot, said: “We would like it resolved as soon as possible so we know where we are. The longer it goes on, the more we are going to
experience difficulties.”

A Home Office spokesperson said the policy would not be implemented more widely until the government had fully considered the evaluation of the policy.

Pauline Newman, co-chair of the Association of Directors of Social Services asylum task force, said the delay to the evaluation would be worthwhile it if it prevented more policies being implemented in a pilot form.

“We want to have considered steps. We don’t want anything that isn’t very well thought out,” she said.

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