LondonNet News Headlines
15/02/01
Government and Siemens 'Ruin Asylum Seekers Lives'
- Computer foul up condemned as company wins bonuses

THE COMPUTER company at the heart of the asylum-seeker backlog crisis has been paid bonuses for its efforts by the government, it has emerged.

Siemens Business Systems won the rewards for apparently increasing productivity in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, despite the fact the government was forced to hire thousands of new staff to revert to a paper-based operation after Siemens's UKP80 million system proved unwieldy.

Siemens called the decision by the government to finally dump the system "a true example of partnership evolving in real time." Those words would draw a huge guffaw were it not for the fact that tens of thousands of refugees from vicious regimes have been left in limbo in detention camps and other run down accommodation due in part to Siemens' system.

"Not only has the government wasted taxpayers' money on a dud system, it is also ruining lives," said Liberal Democrat MP Matthew Taylor.

66,000 asylum seekers are currently in the queue to have their cases judged, but rather than view the backlog - and Siemens' part in creating it - as an unforgivable human tragedy, both the ruling Labour Party and its Conservative opponents are keen to spin the case in terms of anti-immigrant outbursts. Both Prime Minister Tony Blair and Tory leader William Hague have spent the week arguing over which of them would be quicker at throwing asylum seekers out of the country, whatever the computer system might be.




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