§ Mr. Straw
[holding answer 17 April 2000]: The following amounts have been directly spent on supporting asylum seekers. Expenditure is recorded by financial year and it is not possible to give figures for calendar years.333W
The Department of Health did not incur costs of supporting asylum seekers before 1996–97, but from 1996–97 to 1998–99 was responsible for Special Grant payments to local authorities towards the cost of supporting asylum seekers. In 1999–2000, responsibility for grant payments for adult singles and families transferred to the Home Office, with responsibility for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children remaining with the Department of Health.
The Home Office also incurs other costs of dealing with asylum seekers, but these cannot be separated from the overall costs of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. The following table shows the annual outturn for Immigration and Nationality Directorate, which includes the cost of dealing with asylum seekers. The budgeted amount for 2000–01 has yet to be confirmed.
Indirect Costs £ million Year Amount spent 1995–96 199 1996–97 212 1997–98 215 1998–99 209 1999–2000 1260 1 Forecast outturn
The Lord Chancellor's Department also incurs costs in dealing with asylum seekers, but these cannot be separated from the overall running costs of the Immigration Appellate Authority. The following table provides administration costs of the Immigration Appellate Authority, which includes the costs of dealing with asylum seekers but excludes accommodation recruitment and other capital expenses. The budget for 2000–01 has yet to be confirmed.
£ million Year Amount spent 1995–96 8.4 1996–97 11.4 1997–98 12.5 1998–99 14.1 1999–2000 16.1
The Department of Social Security estimates that between 1994 and 1999 the annual administrative cost for income support asylum seeker claims was in the region of £1 million. In 1999–2000, the estimated cost is in the region of £2 million.
The Department of Health is unable to quantify the indirect cost of asylum seekers as no data are collected for analysis.
The Department for Education and Employment does not collect information centrally about education, training or employment provision for asylum seekers or their dependants and cannot supply costs spent directly or indirectly from 1995.
The Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions has no programme of expenditure on asylum seekers and indirect expenditure is not separately identifiable.334W
The number of asylum seekers in Northern Ireland is extremely small and any expenditure is, therefore, negligible.