Clause 15 - Support for destitute asylum-seeker

Part of Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:30 am on 9th May 2002.

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Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Parliamentary Secretary (Home office) 9:30 am, 9th May 2002

There have certainly been major increases in the numbers of caseworkers. I do not have the figure to hand, but I think that there has been an increase of 1,000. If that is wrong, I will let the hon. Gentleman know later in the proceedings. We have doubled the resources devoted to initial decisions and appeals.

There is much to do to streamline and strengthen the process. There are also many people in the process who do not co-operate fully, which makes it difficult. Some legal advisers do not give of their best. That is why we asked John Scampion to drive out the cowboys, so that when people get legal advice, it is the most effective, efficient and best for them. I hope that we can look forward to a significant improvement in processing time, which will be fairer for everyone involved—both the asylum seeker and workers in our system. That will enable us to give people their Geneva convention rights appropriately and not put anyone in danger.

I accept the amendment's spirit about the speed. It is easier said than done, but we are working hard to achieve it.