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Leicester City of Sanctuary were pleased to be asked by Radio Leicester to comment during the Breakfast show on the Home Office Affairs Committee Report on Asylum published today. The Committee was chaired by Keith Vaz MP for Leicester East. Whilst we welcomed the report, which highlights the plight of sanctuary seekers and a system under strain, including the delays in and poor quality of decision making, the outstanding 32,600 legacy cases and substandard housing we don’t think the recommendations went far enough. We were pleased to see at least 4 of the 16 recommendations we made in our submission to the committee in March. These were
• Providing on going asylum support to new refugees until mainstream benefits kick in thus reducing destitution at the point of gaining leave to remain.
• Providing support and child care to women with children under 5 to attend interviews
• Improving interpreting facilities
• Improved country of origin information

The interview with Pam Inder and Colleen Molloy can be heard here from one hour 17 minutes into the programme and again with Keith Vaz from 2 hours and 26 minutes in. We would have liked more time to suggest that real action needs to be taken to address the issues highlighted, including investment in resources and people and a change in institutional culture. We also need a conscious attempt at positive media stories celebrating refugees’ contributions and to make people aware of the realities of the asylum system and to enable the public to see the person behind the statistics.
The full report can be found here.