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NAOMI Alsop (Letters, July 11) writes: "It is shameful that anybody should live in destitution, but especially that it is a result of deliberate government policy."

NAOMI Alsop (Letters, July 11) writes: "It is shameful that anybody should live in destitution, but especially that it is a result of deliberate government policy."

I could not agree more, but this would describe the situation in which many widowed pensioners or mental health sufferers find themselves, not that of failed asylum seekers.

Ms Alsop claims that destitution is used as a means of compelling failed asylum seekers to return to their country of origin.

In reality it is the law which compels someone to leave the UK after their asylum application has been refused.

The asylum system in the UK allows for extensive examination of all possible evidence by the independent Asylum and Immigration Tribunal, a judicial body quite separate from the Home Office or Government.

The point about being a failed asylum seeker is that by definition it has been determined these people have no genuine, legitimate grounds for claiming asylum and it has been determined by due process that there is no reasonable justification for them to be here.

Despite this they are still entitled to claim Section 4 Support including accommodation and vouchers.

Anyone interested might want to check out the web sites of UK Borders Agency (http://www. bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/) or of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunals Service (http://www. ait.gov.uk/). As with most courts, the AIT hearings are open to interested members of the public who would like to observe in the interests of transparency and accountability.

What seems shameful to me is that whilst frail pensioners at risk of hypothermia are thrown meagre 'Winter Fuel Payments' which come nowhere near meeting the spiralling costs of gas and electricity today, asylum seekers are given totally unrestricted and free access to gas and electricity under the asylum support system, no matter how much they use!

I am entirely in favour of supporting honest refugees whose asylum claim has been upheld, but remember, an 'asylum seeker' is simply anyone who says they want asylum - not necessarily someone who needs it.

CD, Solihull

 

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