Asylum seekers – cash payments – s21 National Assistance Act 1948
Local authorities have no power under s21 National Assistance Act 1948 to make cash payments to asylum seekers. The local authority’s stock of residential accommodation was more suitable for the needs of elderly people and people with mental health problems. It had therefore sought to accommodate asylum seekers in bed and breakfast hotels and hostels, supplying cash payments to enable them to buy meals other than breakfast, toiletries, and other incidentals. The court held that, although the local authority could supply the provisions in kind, giving the applicants cash had left them to make their own arrangements and was therefore not a way of fulfilling the duty to “make arrangements for providing…”. The making of cash payments lay outside the statutory purpose of s21.