No concessions

14 Aug

Freedom of Information request posted on What Do They Know:

I understand that you provide a discount to concessionary groups at leisure centres. I attended East Ham leisure centre recently to register my children and myself for swimming lessons and other activities. I brought necessary proofs but was refused concessionary payments facilities as your staffs confirmed that asylum seekers or asylum support are not included on their system.

Therefore I urgently request you to review your scheme and add extra concessionary groups such as asylum seekers as you actually do for students and those who receive council tax benefits. You are aware that asylum support is offered by the Home Office and as an asylum seeker and his family supported by NASS, we are entitled to free services within the borough. In this particular case, I am not asking you for free services but merely requesting you to add this particular group of applicants in your system to avoid future complications in this respect.

I will be thankful if you could provide me your policy in this respect as I have checked other boroughs which do give concessionary payments to asylum seekers supported by NASS under Section 4 or 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. I am concerned to note that Newham council do not have this in place.

Contrary to the myths peddled by the popular press, life is pretty tough for asylum seekers while their cases are being processed. If this is the result of a deliberate policy decision by the council it is appallingly mean-spirited and petty. If not, it’s something that can – and should – be put right quickly.

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