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The BBC's Geeta Guru-Murthy
"Many feel isolated and have little to do"
 real 28k

Sunday, 28 May, 2000, 05:23 GMT 06:23 UK
Asylum housing 'uninhabitable'
asylum seekers
Asylum seekers say some flats even lack cups and plates
A report on the way asylum seekers are housed is set to reveal that they are often placed in accommodation which has been declared unfit for human habitation.

The study by the government watchdog the National Audit Office, entitled Another Country, is expected to be highly critical of the conditions in which many refugees are made to live.

Accommodation is often in cramped conditions - in one case witnessed by the BBC, five men from five different countries were living in a flat meant for two people.

Asylum seekers say their homes can lack the most basic amenities, such as cups and plates or a working fridge.

The report is likely to criticise the government's dispersal policy, whereby asylum seekers are distributed around the country.

Unscrupulous landlords

Local councils and individual MPs say it has become impossible for them to keep track of the numbers of refugees in their areas.

They fear that unscrupulous landlords are making a profit from tax-payers' money while providing sub-standard accommodation.

Earlier in the week, the government announced that there had been a drop in asylum applications.

The total for April stood at 5,890 - the smallest monthly figure for a year, the Home Office said.

Immigration Minister Barbara Roche said the decrease in applications was a result of measures brought in to speed up the asylum process and dissuade bogus asylum seekers.

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See also:

25 May 00 | UK Politics
Fewer seek UK asylum
02 May 00 | UK Politics
Ministers plan more asylum places
22 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Tory asylum policy warning
11 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Asylum cost under fire
10 Apr 00 | Europe
Europe toughens asylum policies
03 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Asylum vouchers spark protests
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