I understand the concern regarding this important issue. This is a complex area and I hope I can provide some further information in this response to help explain the current situation. I know that the Government takes the welfare of people in Home Office care extremely seriously and is fulfilling statutory duties to ensure decent, safe and humane conditions.
The Home Office is required by law to provide asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute with accommodation, paid for by the taxpayer.
Since March 2020, the number of people within the asylum system has risen. This is due to the fact that the Government temporarily ceased ending asylum support for those whose claims have been granted or refused. This was necessary to help stop the spread of coronavirus and ensure they are able to follow social distancing guidelines.
It has therefore been necessary for the Government to act quickly to source contingency accommodation to create additional capacity and ensure obligations are met in full.
At the height of the pandemic and to ensure asylum seekers were not left destitute, additional accommodation was required at extremely short notice. This accommodation provided asylum seekers a safe and secure place to stay. I do welcome the fact that throughout this period accommodation providers and sub-contractors have made improvements to the site and continue to do so.
I know that the Government is disappointed that this judgment was reached on the basis of the site prior to the significant improvement works which have taken place in difficult circumstances.
I have been reassured that those accommodated at these sites have access to appropriate medical care and have access to the 24/7 Migrant Help helpline to raise any issues.
I will continue to monitor the situation closely. However, I welcome the action taken by the Government to ensure the UK continues to meet its obligations and commitments to the most vulnerable people. This is of course in the context of unprecedented domestic challenges caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Thank you again for contacting me.