Refugee Action criticises misleading articles on hotel accommodation for asylum seekers

Refugee Action has criticised misleading news articles in the Daily Mail and Telegraph claiming that 100 asylum seekers are being accommodated in so-called ‘luxury’ accommodation in Manchester.

The articles rightly point out the inadequacy of such accommodation arrangements for newly arrived asylum seekers, but they fail to focus on the real issues at hand, Refugee Action said, adding that this is in fact yet another case of low quality treatment of human beings seeking refuge in the UK.

The cause, in this case and many others, Refugee Action said, is the shocking mismanagement of contracts between the Home Office and private accommodation providers.

The articles also suggest this case indicates that numbers of asylum seekers are increasing to unmanageable numbers.

Refugee Action’s Regional Manager for Liverpool, Julie Kashirahamwe, said: “The reason people are being moved into hotels is not due to an increase in numbers of asylum seekers. Rather it is a backlog in Home Office decision making, which keeps people in dispersed accommodation longer.”

She added: “The reality is that private providers have not procured enough properties for people to be moved into from Initial Accommodation. So as Initial Accommodation is full, they then need to use hotels for new arrivals.”

Home Office contracts fail to set an upper limit on numbers of new arrivals that private providers can take, which leads to private providers accepting more numbers than they have capacity to accommodate and by doing so prioritise potential profit over quality standards of care and accommodation provision, Refugee Action said.

Kashirahamwe added: “This is yet another example of the government’s failure to support vulnerable people who have come to the UK in search of safety. And it is why we continue to call for a fair and effective asylum system, free of political influence, that treats everyone with dignity and respect.”

Refugee Action reminded Daily Mail and Telegraph staff that more than 50% of past guests at the hotel in question have complained of its poor services. Some have rated the hotel as ‘terrible’ in quality. Recent reviews carry titles such as “I wish I could give it zero stars”, “Amble in but you will rush out” and “OH DEAR”.

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