Asylum accommodation 22/02/2021

I was appalled by the damage and destruction at Napier barracks. I fully support the police who took action against those who vandalised property, threatened staff and put lives at risk. I will continue to monitor this situation carefully. 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. I understand that there are constituents who have concerns regarding the conditions of these accommodation facilities. As you will be aware, 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 has temporarily made asylum support available 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.

After looking into this, I have been reassured that those accommodated at these sites have access to appropriate medical care, are provided three meals a day, and have access to the 24/7 Migrant Help helpline to raise any issues.

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.