Croydon asylum seekers may push up tax

Lunar House in Croydon. Photo: Roger Haworth

Lunar House in Croydon Photo: Roger Haworth

A rise in asylum seekers in Croydon may push up council tax if the government does not provide adequate funding, a senior councillor has warned.

Following the closure of the UK Border Agency office in Liverpool on October 14, Lunar House on Wellesley Road became the only screening unit for asylum requests in the country. The department deals with thousands of requests every year.

This means that every asylum seeker who does not declare themselves when they enter the country will have to come to Croydon to do so.

Councillor Gavin Barwell, cabinet member for safety and cohesion, said the government gave Croydon money to cope with the number of asylum seekers but it did not cover all the costs of looking after and processing them.

He said: “It would be unacceptable for Croydon Council to raise council tax for what is essentially a Government decision. We are lobbying to get some mitigation. The ideal thing would be for the decision to be reversed.”

Croydon council’s chief executive Jon Rouse and leader Mike Fisher will discuss their options with the UKBA in the coming weeks.

A spokesperson from the Home Office said: “We do provide sufficient funding; how they use it is up to them.”

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