HC Deb 02 February 2004 vol 417 c703W
Mr. McNamara

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what extra resources will be given to local authorities to support the children of failed asylum seekers. [151443]

Beverley Hughes

The Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc.) Bill provides that families whose asylum claims have failed would no longer be entitled to support at the expense of the taxpayer if they refuse opportunities to leave the country. If parents fail to take these opportunities to leave and put their children at risk, it would be for the local authority to decide how the interests of the children should be protected under the existing child protection legislation that applies to all children. We do not believe that many, if any, parents would put their children in this position. If this were to happen, the costs would be met by central Government.

Dr. Tonge

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children are held in detention centres for asylum seekers. [149822]

Beverley Hughes

The latest available information shows that at the end of September 2003 1,575 people were detained solely under the Immigration Act, of whom 1,270 had sought asylum at some stage. Information on the number of these who were detained as part of a family group is unavailable.

However, the Immigration and Nationality Directorate internal management information indicates that on 8 December 38 children were in detention. This information also indicates that the average time for which children are detained in UK removal centres is about 10 days, although the majority would be in detention for periods less than this.

Forward to