Home Office accused of refusing to say how many right to remain applicants have waited longer than six months
Liberal Democrats MP Christine Jardine wrote to the Government asking how many applications and appeals have been waiting longer than six months, and for the number waiting without access to public funds.
It comes amid an ongoing row over the Government's plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda.
After the written question from the Lib Dem Treasury spokesman on May 18, the UK Government declined to answer.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Immigration Kevin Foster said: “The Home Office does not publish data on the number of applications which have been outstanding for longer than six months awaiting a final decision, nor does it hold data on those who do not have recourse to public funds awaiting a decision.
“To capture this data would exceed the cost threshold.”
Ms Jardine has now accused the Home Office of being unfit for purpose.
She said: "To me coming, as this does amid the ongoing row over the Rwanda scheme, just underlines the view that there is a complete lack of competence in the Home office.
“It is ridiculous that they do not have and cannot provide an accurate number of people waiting or with no recourse to public funds. This is just putting an extra strain on local resources and creating tension.
“These people, many of whom have skills which could make an important contribution to our economic recovery, deserve so much better.
“We all deserve better than a Home Office which seems just to confirm constantly that it is not fit for purpose.
"The scheme to remove refugees to Rwanda is both unacceptable and badly managed, with the suggestion that the first flight may leave with only a handful of people.
"Now we have to add to the litany of incompetence that the Government cannot say how many applicants for asylum there are waiting for decisions.”
The Home Office did not respond to further requests for comment.
It follows a growing backlash to the Government’s Rwanda plans, with the archbishops of Canterbury and York along with the other Anglican bishops in the House of Lords describing it as “immoral”.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal bid by an Iraqi man due to be on the first flight to Rwanda under the Government’s controversial policy to relocate asylum seekers..
Ministers had initially planned for up to 130 people to be on the first taxpayer-funded flight, but the number was expected to be as little as up to eight people.
Foreign secretary Liz Truss failed to deny that a charter flight could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, instead saying she “can’t put a figure” on the expense, but “it is value for money”.
Boris Johnson insisted the Government would not be “deterred or abashed” by criticism.
The Prime Minister told Cabinet ministers: “What is happening with the attempt to undermine the Rwanda policy is that they are, I’m afraid, undermining everything that we’re trying to do to support safe and legal routes for people to come to the UK and to oppose the illegal and dangerous routes."
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