Blair stands firm over asylum vouchers plan

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The Government's voucher system for asylum-seekers will not be scrapped, Tony Blair said yesterday, despite opposition from unions and race groups.

The Government's voucher system for asylum-seekers will not be scrapped, Tony Blair said yesterday, despite opposition from unions and race groups.

He made clear he wanted to stick with the heavily criticised scheme, although the Home Office said it would conduct a "fundamental review" to assess its impact on refugees.

The leadership avoided a conference defeat on the issue when Bill Morris, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union, agreed to withdraw a critical resolution in return for a pro-mise of an immediate review.

Mr Morris backed off after the Government said it wouldreview the rule that prevents asylum-seekers from receiving change in cash when spending their vouchers.

However, Mr Blair said that while he was prepared to review the system to modify it, he could not countenance its outright abolition and a return to cash benefits. "Nobody in Government is talking about scrapping the voucher system," he told BBC News 24.

The food vouchers were introduced in April in an attempt to deter economic migrants.

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