A quarter of asylum seekers in UK registered in North West

One in four asylum seekers receiving support in the UK is based in the North West of England, figures indicate.

A total of 8,680 main applicants and their dependants given help were registered in the region at the end of March.

This was 24% of the total of 35,683 people being supported around the country under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, through which asylum seekers can apply for accommodation and/or financial help for essential living costs while their application is decided.

The finding comes after figures released last week showed no Syrians were resettled in the North West under the Government's separate expanded resettlement scheme between October and March.

Press Association analysis of official data revealed wide regional variations in the distribution of asylum seekers receiving Section 95 support as at the end of the first quarter of 2016.

The West Midlands had the second highest number with 5,204, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (4,492), Scotland (3,214) and the North East (3,201).

London had 2,657, while the South East had the lowest number, with 504.

Middlesbrough had 831 asylum seekers receiving support and the highest number per head of population, with one for every 167 people, according to the latest available data.

Glasgow had the highest number of individuals receiving Section 95 support of all local authorities, with 3,173 - one for every 189 residents.

There were 184 local authorities with none.

Earlier this year the Commons Home Affairs Committee said ministers must call on more areas to house asylum seekers as Britain faces unprecedented demand for accommodation.

Councils sign up voluntarily to the 'dispersal' scheme.

Overall, the number of people receiving Section 95 support at the end of March was 17% higher than at the same time in 2015, when the number stood at 30,476.

A Home Office report issued alongside the figures, which were published last week, said that although the number has risen since 2012, it is "considerably below" that for the end of 2003, when there were 80,123 asylum seekers in receipt of Section 95 support.

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