Hordes of so-called ‘destitute’ Muslim asylum seekers who are are given free homes and generous welfare benefits funded by British taxpayers, were found to have iPads, mobile phones, and flat screen televisions when they broke into the UK illegally.
UK Daily Mail (h/t Susan K) Supposedly penniless asylum seekers living in taxpayer-funded accommodation have been caught with expensive electronic goods such as iPads, cell phones and wide screen TVs. Auditors carrying out spot checks found ‘signs of wealth’ at around one in ten properties, a report reveals today.
The Home Office spends around £150million a year housing some 23,000 asylum seekers while it decides whether their claims are genuine. It also houses asylum seekers whose claims have been rejected but who it is unable to remove from the country.
Asylum seekers are banned from working while their claims are processed and cannot claim normal out-of-work benefits. Instead they are given somewhere to live in certain designated areas and a weekly subsistence allowance. To qualify, they must be considered ‘destitute’.
An NAO report published today found many clearly enjoying a living standard well above the breadline. The NAO said it carried out ten visits in three areas – Yorkshire, London and the North West. In each area at least one visit revealed ‘indications of prosperity’.
If repeated across the country it would mean around 2,000 asylum seekers were wrongly being given State handouts. The report said they found ‘signs of wealth’ which suggested that the ‘occupant may have a higher level of income’.
The report said: ‘During the fieldwork for our investigation, we visited a sample of properties used to house asylum seekers. ‘In some of these, it was clear that the occupants may have a level of income above that expected of someone receiving the minimum level of support…’
‘There is a risk that individuals or families may be occupying properties to which they are not entitled, thus taking resources away from those more in need. Housing officials who discover signs of wealth should report it to the authorities within 24 hours, the report said. But the Home Office was unable to say how many such reports it had received.
The report also revealed Government officials are negotiating with councils to find new parts of the country to put asylum applicants and failed asylum seekers. Councils said they were concerned too many asylum seekers were being housed in areas with large migrant populations, potentially undermining ‘community cohesion’. The current limit is one asylum seeker for every 200 people.
The Home Office told auditors it ‘wishes to negotiate options to consider the need for, and potential to, widen participating areas in some regions.’ The housing is provided by three private companies, G4S, Serco and Clearel who took over the contracts in 2012.
But the report found failures by G4S and Serco to provide appropriate housing had already cost taxpayers up to £4million. Both firms are failing to supply enough homes for asylum-seekers quickly enough. Home Office officials are now in talks with the two companies to recover the money, the report says.