Statement from the Leader of Wolverhampton City Council and Chair of West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership, October 28th, 2015 – Inappropriate/unfair use of local hotels.

Wton City Council LogoLeader of the City of Wolverhampton Council and Chair of the West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership, Roger Lawrence said: “Whilst we recognise that asylum seeker numbers are at unprecedented levels nationally and that the Home Office are looking to disperse people around the country to relieve the pressure on London, we don’t believe that hotel accommodation – even on a temporary basis – is appropriate.

“Hotel accommodation is wholly unsuitable. It fails to meet the often very complex needs of large numbers of vulnerable people. Asylum seekers need to be treated properly and this means giving much greater consideration to social facilities and the wider support network that’s required. Simply dumping vulnerable people like these in local hotels isn’t an acceptable position to me or the council.

“We also believe that the use of hotels in these specific circumstances is a breach of planning consent and that’s why we are investigating the possibility of legal action to curb their use.

“On behalf of the West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership, I’m seeking an early meeting with the minister to set out our concerns about getting the best possible outcome for these very vulnerable people and to ensure a fairer solution for already ‘under the cosh’ local authorities in the West Midlands.

“We believe that around one-third of all claimants nationally are being accommodated in the West Midlands. I am asking the Home Office to look again at the number of local authorities that asylum seekers are currently dispersed to. A small number are shouldering an unfair burden, including ourselves.

“We have repeatedly tried to persuade G4S, who manage dispersals on behalf of the Home Office, to put in place a more equitable distribution plan. Unfortunately, they haven’t responded positively to our request and we are therefore considering our legal options.”

End of Statement.

Article on Wolverhampton Express & Star website – http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2015/11/04/asylum-seekers-in-the-black-country-wolverhampton-council-fury-over-city-hotel-stays/

“The Council did not approach the E&S about this issue in the first instance, because we seek to protect service users, however when we were asked for a comment the above statement was sent to them from Cllr Lawrence.”