Blackpool Council Leader, Councillor Lynn Williams has replied to deep concerns about the welfare and well-being of the asylum seekers who are currently housed in the town’s Metropole Hotel. She responded to questions asked at a full council meeting by saying, ‘We continue to work with the Home Office and Serco who are managing everyone at the hotel, to ensure the best is done for these incredibly vulnerable families. While we considered it to be completely the wrong place at the wrong time for vulnerable people, given the needs of our residents particularly from a health perspective, we continue to monitor how the property is used. There are a number of children attending school. We knew the people of Blackpool would go out of their way to help and support people who have come to us from a traumatic situation.’
This comes as the Home Office has been criticised for not housing asylum seekers appropriately and recently reporting that £4.7m was being spent each day on hotels, four times the amount previously and erroneously stated. Refugee organisations have added their voice, criticising the Home Office for the slow progress it has made towards finding permanent homes for refugees brought to the UK from Afghanistan last year. Campaigners have consistently warned that, aside from the cost, hotels are totally unsuitable places to house families long-term.
A Home Office spokesperson said, ‘The use of hotels is unacceptable. It is a short-term solution to the global migration crisis and we are working hard to find appropriate dispersed accommodation for migrants, asylum seekers and Afghan refugees as soon as possible. We would urge local authorities to do all they can to help house people permanently.’