Robert Jenrick commits to ending use of hotels to house migrants

Robert Jenrick told MPs he wants to end the use of hotels to house migrants

Published

Good-quality hotels could act as a “pull factor” for people thinking of crossing the Channel, according to the immigration minister.

Robert Jenrick told MPs he wants to end the use of hotels to house migrants and the Government may need to use “some larger sites to provide decent but basic accommodation” as an alternative.

His remarks came as several Conservative MPs criticised the use of hotels in their constituencies, with reports suggesting a “luxury rural hotel” normally charging £400 a night was among the sites used.

But concerns were also raised about poor-quality sites, with Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Streatham) saying families are living in “cramped conditions” and “given food so bad it makes them sick”.

The Government said it spends £6.8 million a day housing migrants in hotels, with extra demand created by almost 40,000 people arriving in the UK after crossing the Channel so far this year.

Ms Ribeiro-Addy said of hotels in her area: “These are dire, they are not secure, they’re not safe and they’re certainly not suitable for vulnerable children, so will the minister admit that the Home Office has received a number of complaints about this and agree to reviewing and assessing the conditions in these hotels?”

Several MPs have criticised the use of hotels in their constituencies to house migrants.
Several MPs have criticised the use of hotels in their constituencies to house migrants.

Mr Jenrick said he will look at specific allegations, saying he has been “reassured” by visits to hotels they meet the right standard before noting it is “not appropriate that we are putting up asylum seekers in luxurious hotels”.

He added in the Commons: “Decency is important and will be a watchword for us, but deterrence has to be suffused through our approach as well because we do not want to create a further pull factor for individuals to make this perilous crossing across the Channel and we have to make the UK significantly less attractive to illegal immigration than our EU neighbours.”

Conservative former minister Maggie Throup earlier said 400 asylum seekers are housed in two hotels in her constituency of Erewash, Derbyshire, before saying the location is “wholly unsuitable” due to there being “no basic amenities nearby” or extra resources for local services.

Asked to provide a timetable for their closure, Mr Jenrick replied: “The hotels are not a sustainable answer, we want to ensure we exit the hotels as quickly as possible and to do that we will need to disperse individuals to other forms of accommodation.

“We may need to take some larger sites to provide decent but basic accommodation and, of course, we will need to get through the backlog so that we can get more people out of the system – either by returning them to their home country or granting them asylum so they can begin to make a contribution to the UK.”

Conservative MP Lee Anderson (Ashfield) said: “When I hear words like sourcing housing and getting extra hotel spaces for illegal immigrants, it leaves a bitter taste in my throat.

“And I’ll tell you what, I’ve got 5,000 people in Ashfield who want to secure council housing and they cannot get one. Yet we’re here debating this nonsense once again. When are we going to stop blaming the French, the ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights), the lefty lawyers?

“The blame lies in this place right now. When are we going to go back and do the right thing and send them straight back the same day?”

Mr Jenrick replied: “In sourcing accommodation for migrants, we should be guided by both our common desire for decency because those are our values, but also hard-headed common sense. And it is not right that migrants are put up in three or four-star hotels at exorbitant cost to the United Kingdom taxpayer.”