8 Jan 2010

Ashford, Kent and Asylum Seekers

Your Ashford published a rather inflammatory article on the costs of asylum seekers.

It appears to be geared directly to Daily Mail readers, certainly judging by the number of responses with the words "sponge off our country".

It also seems to have absolutely no information whatsoever and I would question what the journalists that Your Ashford actually do.

The only information that seems to be little relevant in this article is the council tax is set to rise under Kent County Council and part of this is due to asylum seekers.

Reading beyond what appears to be a deliberate incitement of racial hatred, I'm sure you cannot blame me for asking "what costs?"

Any benefits that asylum seekers receive is lower than any other recipient of benefits in the country.

Benefits are paid by central government, therefore Kent County Council do not incur this cost.

The police and the UK Border Agency deal with all immigrants coming across the border. this includes keeping them in converted cells until accommodation can be found, electronically tagging them while their asylum claims are assessed, and then pushing them through to relevant training centres in camps across the country (no longer housed in Kent). Therefore, Kent County Council did not incur the cost.

There is currently a two-year waiting list to get a house in Ashford, and I doubt that there is any immediate Housing opportunities in social housing across the county. In the event that councils are housing refugees and asylum seekers (as opposed to letting them live in "camps" which is is a diabolical abuse of human rights), this costs it incurred by the Borough Council, not by the County Council.

In fact, the only costs that I can see that Kent County Council may bear for asylum seekers is to support unaccompanied children while their claims are assessed.

I cannot genuinely believe that this has gone up by 0.71%. Given that an awful lot of charities work in partnership with the Kent County Council, I would also assume that the weight of responsibility is not on Kent County Council and instead rests with the Refugee and Migrant Justice centre in Ashford, not to mention other charities across the county.

So what on earth is Your Ashford playing at, not to mention this extremely dubious press release by Councillor Paul Carter?

And I'm sure that you can ultimately deduce from these facts and your own research that asylum seekers and refugees are not "sponging off our country"

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