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"PROVISION OF SUPPORT BY LOCAL AUTHORITY
(1) Section 99 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (c. 33) (provision of support by local authority) shall be amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (1)—
(a) after "local authority" insert "or Northern Ireland authority", and
(b) at the end add "or 98".
(3) For subsections (2) and (3) substitute—
"(2) Support may be provided by an authority in accordance with arrangements made with the authority or with another person.
(3) Support may be provided by an authority in accordance with arrangements made under section 95 only in one or more of the ways mentioned in section 96(1) and (2)."
(4) In subsection (4)—
(a) for "A local authority" substitute "An authority", and
(b) at the end add "or 98".
(5) In subsection (5)—
(a) for "a local authority" substitute "an authority", and
(b) in paragraph (b) for "bodies who are not local authorities" substitute "other bodies"."

The noble Lord said: Government Amendments Nos. 4 and 6 ensure that local authorities have the power to enter into contracts with the Home Office in respect of NASS emergency accommodation, induction centres and accommodation centres. We found it necessary to put these provisions into the Bill because, having believed that existing provisions in the Local Government Act 2000 would be more than sufficient for these purposes, on mature reflection we concluded that that may not be the case, and we decided to put the matter beyond all reasonable doubt. I believe that it is right to do so.

It is worth saying that NASS has existing powers in the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 which enable it to enter into contracts with local authorities in respect of accommodation under Section 95 of the 1999 Act—generally referred to as "dispersal accommodation". However, to date, NASS has contracted with the voluntary sector for the provision of emergency accommodation under Section 98 of the 1999 Act. NASS is currently looking to expand the range of providers used for emergency accommodation. A

17 Oct 2002 : Column 1009

number of local authorities have expressed an interest in assisting in providing such accommodation and in running induction centres on behalf of NASS. In order to do so, they need to be assured that they have the necessary powers. That is a very simple explanation as to why we require the amendments to be put into the legislation. I beg to move.

Lord Hylton: This amendment gives one the opportunity to raise questions concerning the administration of NASS. As I understand it, that administration is very much centralised in its head office in Croydon. That has given rise to numerous complaints, many of which have been recorded by citizens advice bureaux. The national office of the citizens advice bureaux has published a pamphlet drawing attention to the volume of complaints which are concerned with the remoteness of the administration of NASS and the difficulty that individuals encounter in finding the right official to address when things begin to go wrong.

I also understand that no less than 68 million of lottery money has had to go to a whole range of voluntary organisations which deal with asylum seekers. Much of it has been directed to voluntary organisations which support people in the dispersal areas. That seems a strange lacuna; it indicates that something is seriously wrong with the way official support is provided by NASS. I hope that the Government will be able to consider this matter extremely carefully. It seems that several administrative improvements are most urgent.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, for raising those questions. I am not sure that they are entirely relevant to the amendments before us, but I shall try to deal with some of the points raised.

We are aware of the recent NACAB report. All reports of such a nature fall to be acknowledged, thought through and understood. The department is closely considering some of the points which were properly included in the NACAB report. We have had discussions before on this issue. I am grateful to the noble Lord for raising the points again. We are happy to write to him on some of the issues that he has helpfully raised tonight.

In tabling the amendments we are seeking to work with a range of partner organisations and agencies. One might properly argue that that is a form of devolution, a sort of decentralisation. The point made by the noble Lord is valuable. We are grateful to him for raising such points. We are happy to try to clarify some of the points of detail in writing.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

17 Oct 2002 : Column 1010

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 5:


    After Clause 53, insert the following new clause—


"APPLICATION FOR SUPPORT: FALSE OR INCOMPLETE INFORMATION
At the end of paragraph 12(c) of Schedule 8 to the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (c. 33) (asylum-seeker support: procedure: disregarding of application) there shall be inserted "(which may, in particular, provide for an application not to be entertained where the Secretary of State is not satisfied that the information provided is complete or accurate or that the applicant is co-operating with enquiries under paragraph (d))".

[Amendments Nos. 5A to 5F, as amendments to Amendment No. 5, not moved.]

6.31 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 5) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 101; Not-Contents, 34.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

Division No. 2

CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Alli, L.
Ampthill, L.
Andrews, B.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Craigavon, V.
Crawley, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Erroll, E.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gavron, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Jordan, L.
Judd, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Monson, L.
Morgan, L.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Parekh, L.
Paul, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Simon, V.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thornton, B.
Turner of Camden, B.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Weatherill, L.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord Privy Seal)
Winston, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Addington, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Dholakia, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Falkland, V.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Goodhart, L.
Greaves, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hylton, L.
Jacobs, L.
Joffe, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maddock, B.
Methuen, L.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Northover, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Roper, L.
Russell, E. [Teller]
Russell-Johnston, L.
Sandwich, E.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L. [Teller]
Smith of Clifton, L.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Walmsley, B.

17 Oct 2002 : Column 1011

6.41 p.m.

Clauses 54 and 55 agreed to.

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 6:


    After Clause 55, insert the following new clause—


    "NORTHERN IRELAND AUTHORITIES
    (1) In section 110(9) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (c. 33) (support: payment to local authority: Northern Ireland authority) after paragraph (b) there shall be added—
    "; or
    (c) a Health and Social Services trust established under the Health and Personal Social Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 (S.I. 1991/194 (N.I. 1)."
    (2) In section 94(1) of that Act (support: interpretation) after the definition of "local authority" there shall be inserted—
    ""Northern Ireland authority" has the meaning given by section 110(9).""
    On Question, amendment agreed to.
    Clause 56 agreed to.
    Clause 75 [Adjudicators]:

The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Baroness Scotland of Asthal) moved Amendment No. 7:


    Page 44, line 39, at end insert ", and


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