§ Lord Bassam of Brighton
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What plans they have to allow local authorities to use their own housing stock for asylum seekers where the authority is under a statutory duty to provide accommodation.
§ Baroness Hayman
The Government are currently undertaking a comprehensive spending review of asylum policy, including a review of the policy for providing support to asylum seekers. We recognise that some local authorities, particularly in London, are experiencing difficulties in accommodating asylum seekers to whom various statutory duties are owed.110WA
Consequently, in response to a request from the Association of London Government, the Government propose to make an order under Section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 which will allow local housing authorities in England and Wales to grant non-secure tenancies and licences in their own housing stock to asylum seekers to whom they owe a statutory duty to provide accommodation.
Authorities will also be able to let their housing stock to other landlords who intend to sub-let the accommodation, on a temporary basis, to asylum seekers who are owed a duty.
Additionally, we intend to invite the Housing Corporation to consider relaxing its guidance, in respect of the use of registered social landlords' long-term stock, to allow them some flexibility in supporting local authorities which owe a statutory duty to accommodate asylum seekers.
These proposals will form temporary arrangements only, and are without prejudice to the outcome of the comprehensive spending review.