I can tell the hon. Lady that 85% of cases are straightforward and we have a service standard of dealing with those within six months. We dealt with a big backlog earlier this year—that is why I make the point about the effort that has gone in. Many people in the asylum processing system will say that asylum processing is probably in as good a place now as it has been in for many years, but of course I look for further improvements; we do not sit back. Equally, it depends on some of the pressures in terms of changes or increases in the numbers of those who are claiming asylum. We are very vigilant in monitoring how we are dealing with this. I can say to the hon. Lady that 85% of cases are straightforward and that our service standard is to deal with those within six months. Obviously, it is difficult to know what proportion of the people in her constituency may be in the situation she describes; it is difficult to draw that parallel. However, I hope that it is helpful at least to set out the approach that we are taking and that balance in terms of how asylum claims are dealt with.
We judge that the current policy strikes the right balance. Asylum seekers are provided with support and accommodation, but if their asylum claims are undetermined for 12 months for reasons outside their control, they can apply for permission to work. We believe that that is a fair and reasonable policy that we should keep. For the reasons that I have outlined, we ask that the amendment be withdrawn.