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Wolverhampton to stop taking asylum seekers

Contract to end in June 2011

12th October 2010: Keeping in view the growing pressure on housing, the Wolverhampton City Council has decided to stop taking asylum seekers.

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With this, Wolverhampton would become the second authority in the West Midlands to stop receiving asylum seekers.

The council, which provides 124 homes, will withdraw from its contract with the UK Border Agency in June next year.

On Friday, Birmingham City Council, part of a consortium with Wolverhampton, Dudley and Coventry, also withdrew from the agreement. Birmingham Council had claimed they needed their properties for their own people.

Though Dudley and Coventry councils have said they will continue to remain in the group, Coventry and Dudley provide 74 and 73 homes respectively to the seekers.

Councilor Les Pugh, Cabinet Member for adults at Wolverhampton City Council said the decision to further stop taking asylum seekers by the council was not an easy one. Pugh added the decision was in the interest of local people given the pressures on the housing list.

He said there were currently 13,405 people on the waiting list for council housing, of which 6,868 were in accommodation need.

However, the UK Border Agency’s regional director said they were upset at Wolverhampton’s decision.

Dudley Council had asserted that it will remain in the consortium till at least June 2012 while Coventry had claimed it would honour its present commitment.

Councilor Tony Skipper, Cabinet member for housing at the Labour-led council said that Birmingham was a key part of the group. It was irresponsible on the part of the city council to withdraw from the duty at the last minute.

He added it was not acceptable that asylum seekers were being used as a scapegoat for foreseen cuts in government funding for future house building.

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