Natacha Bouchart said these payouts were the lure for thousands of foreigners using the French port as a staging point to cross the Channel illegally.
She said the UK government’s policy was ‘imposing’ migrants on the town, costing the local economy millions.
Mrs Bouchart, 45, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party, said she was so disgusted by what was going on that she refused to have any meetings with British government representatives.
She said the British system was predominantly to blame for thousands of Africans, eastern Europeans and Asians trying to clamber aboard lorries and trains in Calais every day.
‘Requesting asylum is easier with them (the British) than in France. The asylum seeker is given accommodation and receives up to £40 a week according to
their case, when the annual income of the average Eritrean is around $200 (£135).
‘That seems enormous and it’s attractive to them.’
In Britain, asylum seekers can receive payments as soon as a claim is lodged. In France, an asylum seeker generally is given nothing for six months
That is because the French bureaucratic system means it routinely takes a minimum of six months to have a claim for asylum – and with it the opportunity to receive state support – accepted.
Once accepted, the claimant can receive a range of benefits – but almost all prefer to try to reach Britain and secure immediate benefits.