Majority of asylum seekers are sent North

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The Independent Online

Since the Home Office introduced the national dispersal programme on April 3, 4,619 asylum seekers have been moved to towns and cities outside London.

Since the Home Office introduced the national dispersal programme on April 3, 4,619 asylum seekers have been moved to towns and cities outside London.

The largest numbers - 30 per cent of the total - have been sent to the North-West, with 669 accommodated in Liverpool and 554 in Manchester.

Glasgow, with 731, has taken more asylum seekers than any other city since the start of the programme.

Yorkshire and Humberside have taken one in five of those dispersed, with 349 being placed in Leeds, 223 in Sheffield and 156 in Hull.

The Immigration Service's National Asylum Support Service (NASS), which is overseeing the dispersals, is attempting to place asylum seekers in large, ethnically diverse centres of population.

But refugee support groups fear the programme is becoming increasingly accommodation-led, with asylum seekers forced to accept housing in deprived areas or isolated towns.

Yesterday a coalition of 30 British non-governmental organisations complained to the United Nations racism monitoring committee that the dispersal of asylum seekers to deprived areas outside London was undermining race relations.

Fazil Kawani, of the Refugee Council, said: "Areas chosen for dispersal should have proper support available, such as access to appropriate legal advice and interpreters as well as links with ethnic minority and refugee communities."

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