William Eichler 30 January 2023

Councillors call for end to outsourcing asylum accommodation

Councillors call for end to outsourcing asylum accommodation  image
Image: Victor Moussa / Shutterstock.com.

Local councillors from across the UK have called on the Government to stop outsourcing asylum accommodation to for-profit companies.

The call follows the shocking revelation that 440 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children have gone missing from asylum hotels since July 2021, 200 of whom remain unaccounted for.

A hundred and sixty local councillors from various political parties wrote to the Home Office urging them to stop the use of private companies in the provision of asylum accommodation and instead ensure councils can provide good quality accommodation.

The letter stated: ‘Private companies like G4S, Mears, Serco, Mitie and Clearsprings make huge profits from lucrative accommodation contracts with the Home Office, while people seeking sanctuary and their local communities lose out.

‘This system doesn’t work for our communities or our workers. Nor does it work for our local authorities, which face significant obstacles in streamlining support to people housed in accommodation run by outsourced private companies.

‘Outsourcing asylum accommodation means less accountability, less opportunity for the local community to support their new neighbours, and more taxpayer money going into the pockets of private companies.’

Cllr Doctor Hosnieh Djafari-Marbini of the Migrant Champions Network, the organisation supporting the letter, said: ‘The fact is that communities up and down the country want to stand in solidarity with people seeking sanctuary, and provide them a warm welcome. And it’s clear that councillors from across the country are equally committed to making sure that people arriving here have the support they need.

‘But decisions taken by central government too often make that impossible. We hope that the Government will listen to the voices of these councillors, and equip local communities to provide a warm welcome, instead of pursuing an agenda of hostility and division, and lining the pockets of private companies.’

A Government spokesperson said: 'The number of people arriving in the UK who require accommodation has reached record levels and has put our asylum system under incredible strain.

'The use of hotels to house asylum seekers is unacceptable – there are currently more than 45,500 asylum seekers in hotels costing the UK taxpayer £5.6 million a day.

'We engage with local authorities as early as possible whenever sites are used for asylum accommodation and work to ensure arrangements are safe for hotel residents and local people.'

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