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Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Section 97: Provision of support: supplemental rules

303.Subsection (1) of section 97 sets out factors to which the Secretary of State must have regard in providing accommodation. These are that the need for accommodation is only temporary pending determination of an asylum claim (so security of tenure need not be an issue), and the desirability of providing accommodation in areas where there is a ready supply (in contrast to areas such as London where there is an acute shortage of accommodation). He may also make regulations specifying further matters that he must take into account; regulations might cover such matters as the condition of the property.

304.Subsection (2) prevents the Secretary of State from taking account of any preferences as to location that the asylum seeker may express. He may also make regulations setting out other factors he is required to ignore. Subsection (3) allows him to repeal certain of the provisions within subsection (2). There is provision in subsection (4) for regulations setting out the factors which the Secretary of State must take into consideration in providing an asylum seeker’s essential living needs and which factors he may not take into consideration.

305.Subsection (5) provides that, in setting the level of support for essential living needs, the Secretary of State may limit the overall amount payable to any individual or family to a proportion of the level of income support generally available; in doing so he may recognise that the support is only of a temporary nature, and need not therefore include contributions to the replacement of items of furnishing or clothing that might be required in the longer term.

306.Subsection (7) allows the Secretary of State to disregard any preference an asylum seeker may express as to the manner in which the support is to be provided. Thus, he may disregard the preference a single person might express for self-contained accommodation and self-catering arrangements, instead making an offer of accommodation in a hostel that provides full board. If the asylum seeker declines to take up such an offer of accommodation the Secretary of State need not make any further offer.

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