MORE than 300 asylum seekers are claiming financial support in Barnsley as the national backlog hits an all-time high.

While awaiting a decision asylum seekers are unable to work but can be entitled to financial assistance and accommodation through what is known as ‘Section 95’ support.

Figures from the Home Office shows 312 people were claiming asylum assistance in Barnsley as of December - up from 301 a year before.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Our priority is to stop the boats and ensure that people who come here illegally are detained and swiftly removed.

“We are working to speed up asylum processing so that people do not wait months or years in the backlog, at vast expense to the taxpayer, and to remove everyone who doesn’t have a legitimate reason to be here.

“To ensure our processes remain robust and all claims are properly considered, we have recruited hundreds of caseworkers to crack through cases.”