Clause 7 — Failed asylum seekers: withdrawal of support

Part of Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, Etc.) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 1st March 2004.

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Photo of Beverley Hughes Beverley Hughes Minister of State (Citizenship and Immigration), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Counter-Terrorism) 5:45 pm, 1st March 2004

I want to deal first with amendment No. 23, which seeks, as Mrs. Brooke has just said, to delete clause 7. That would mean that we would be unable to withdraw support from families, no matter how much resistance they had shown or how much time and opportunity they had been given to leave the country once their claim had failed. We would therefore be in a very difficult position, both in terms of trying to achieve our policy objective and of explaining to our constituents how we could require people who were not legally in the country to leave but, if they refused to do so, we would have to continue to pay them to stay here indefinitely.

I do not pretend that this is not a difficult issue. I find it very difficult, but, equally, I am absolutely convinced that we would not have a credible policy if we required people to leave when they should, but carried on paying them and providing them with accommodation at the taxpayer's expense when they refused to do so.