Asylum seekers in Doncaster doubles

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The number of asylum seekers being moved into Doncaster has more than doubled in 18 months.

Private contractors have sent more refugees to the town to meet Government quotas, but Doncaster still has the lowest number in South Yorkshire.

Figures, released by the City of Sanctuary organisation in Sheffield in its annual report, shows the number of Doncaster-housed asylum seekers increased from just 98 in August 2012 to 204 in March of this year, a rise of 108 per cent.

It is believed the number living here now is about 250.

The increase dates from around the time private security firm G4S was awarded the procurement contracts.

Karen Johnson, Doncaster Council’s assistant director for communities, said: “Although the percentage increase is high, it has come from a very low base.

“The Home Office agrees quotas with each area and for Yorkshire it is no more than one asylum seeker per 300 population.

“On the last count Doncaster had 253 asylum seekers in total – just 0.067 per cent of the population – and the lowest in South Yorkshire.

“G4S are responsible for housing asylum seekers and we are working to ensure the pattern of placements doesn’t significantly impact on communities and public services.

“That said, Doncaster is a welcoming place and we have a successful track record in supporting those fleeing conflict and persecution abroad.”

City of Sanctuary, a movement set up in 2007 to build a culture of welcome and hospitality for refugees and asylum seekers, says there were 23,500 new applications for asylum in the UK in the year ending in June 2013.

Figures for 2012 show asylum seekers made up only 0.27 per cent of the population in this country. Most come from the Indian sub-continent and Iran, Syria and Afghanistan. The cost of housing is met by the Government but asylum seekers cannot work or claim benefits although they can use services.