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Asylum Contingency Hotels

Just before my election last year, the Nationality and Borders Act became law. The Government claimed that this Act would resolve the asylum backlog, with the then Home Secretary promising that it was a “long-term plan that seeks to address the challenge of illegal migration head on.”

Yet nearly a year on, there has been no real progress in tackling this crisis. The initial decision backlog for asylum cases has increased by 60% compared to 2021, rising to a record high of 160,000. Shockingly, fewer than 1% of last year’s claims from those arriving on small boats have been decided.

The Tories are now proposing their Illegal Migration Bill. Despite the rhetoric of the Home Secretary, asylum delays are getting even longer, and the Home Office are taking 10,000 fewer decisions a year than in 2015.

This has led to a record number of asylum seekers being housed long-term in hotels. 37,000 people now reside in hotels, at a staggering cost of over £6 million to the taxpayer each and every day. Yet, they are still deciding to use more.

Local councils - who have already faced significant funding cuts under successive Conservative governments - are having these proposals forced on to them with no say.

This is the story here in Wakefield. There are currently two hotels used to accommodate asylum seekers in my constituency, with plans for a third.

As a District of Sanctuary, our city has a proud history of embracing those fleeing war and persecution, but hotels are completely unsuitable long-term accommodation for very vulnerable individuals who require intensive support from a wide range of local agencies.

Increasingly, cash-strapped councils are having to step in to provide support for vulnerable asylum seekers without the power to say no. This is a proposal forced on Wakefield, by the Conservative government.

I have written to the Home Secretary to protest against these proposals, and I am glad that Wakefield’s Labour Council is fighting this too.

It is worth reflecting on this Government’s woeful track record:

Promising to speed up claims but delivering the opposite, promising to end the use of hotels, but instead seeing their use soar and promising to return those deemed inadmissible, but only returning 21 people.

This simply isn’t good enough.

Labour would crackdown on criminal smuggler gangs, through a new Cross-Border Police Unit, clear the asylum backlog and end hotel use, negotiate a new agreement which includes return agreements and properly managed alternative arrangements, and tackle humanitarian crises at source helping refugees in their own regions.

This is a mess of the Conservative Government’s own making.


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