Asylum hotel closures may shift cost to councils
The government has announced it will no longer use the hotels the local authorities are planning to use to house migrants.
By the end of the year, the government intends to end contracts with 50 hotels that house asylum seekers.
According to official figures, these hotels cost the taxpayer £8 million a day to hire.
Councils, which are required to house refugees in need, may have to shoulder this cost, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).
Councils are legally obligated to find lodging for refugees who leave hotel accommodations after their asylum applications have been processed, according to Shaun Davies, chairman of the Local Government Association.
“We have a housing shortage, we have a huge demand for temporary housing, and we have councils in financial difficulty,” Mr Davies, who is also a Telford Labour councillor, said.
Local governments are supposed to house refugees once they become their responsibility, Davies questioned.
The question is “if not those hotels, then where?” Mr Davies said hotels are not a long-term solution for housing refugees.
“That’s the irony of this situation, that one part of the system might claim that they’re doing relatively well, but is actually shunting the issue and the cost to local taxpayers,” he said.
Asylum seekers will be housed in disused military sites and barges, like in Portland, instead of being housed in sometimes luxurious hotels, according to Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick.
74,751 asylum claims were made in the UK last year, which is a near 20-year high, according to Home Office data. The use of hotels has increased exponentially as asylum claims have increased in the UK.