To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 7 October 2020 to Question 96929 on Asylum: Housing, whether local health colleagues includes local authority Public Health Directors; and whether she consulted with local authority Public Health Directors on her decision to resume asylum support cessations for people who have had a negative decision on their asylum case, as announced on 15 September 2020.
5 November 2020
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Home Office paused ending support for people who had been granted asylum, or whose claim had been refused. This was to ensure that people were not made homeless and able to follow social distancing.
We said from the outset that this was a temporary measure which would be brought to an end as soon as it was safe to do so.
The Home Office has started cessations of support in a phased way which will reduce demand on the asylum system while prioritising the safety of those within the asylum system.
The process of issuing discontinuation notices is kept under regular review, taking consideration of public health guidance. The issuing of notices was paused on 27 March, but resumed on 15 September for some cases, starting with failed asylum seekers living in tier 1 and 2 areas in England at the time of the decision being prioritised over other cases.This is being kept under continual review, particularly in light of the fact that we are only issuing negative cessation notices where a route back to the home country exists for the individual, amongst other things. An offer of voluntary return is made, in each case, including flights being paid for and a cash sum of X is offered as well.
We have been working closely with National and Local health Colleagues throughout the pandemic to inform our approach and will continue to do so. We remain committed to working closely with the accommodation providers and communicating with local authorities to relieve pressure and capacity as much as possible and ensure that health guidance is being followed.