Lilley under fire over benefits for asylum-seekers

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The Independent Online
The Secretary of State for Social Security came under fresh fire in the High Court in a challenge to regulations on benefits for asylum- seekers, made under emergency legislation passed in July. Mr Justice Popplewell ruled that a full judicial review hearing of Peter Lilley's new rules should take place as a matter of urgency. Up to 10,000 asylum-seekers could be entitled to be treated as "urgent cases" if the application, by a woman member of a political group opposed to the Ethiopian government, succeeds.

The woman says she fled from Ethiopia after suffering beatings and rape by prison guards. The regulations purport to make the 1996 Act apply retrospectively. The July legislation followed a Court of Appeal ruling that Mr Lilley had exceeded his powers when introducing new rules refusing housing benefit, income support and other benefits to asylum-seekers who failed to make prompt applications on their arrival in Britain. Patricia Wynn Davies