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Asylum seekers to be moved from hotels into social housing amid uproar

Asylum seekers are set to be moved out of hotels in the West Midlands and Staffordshire amid uproar at the Home Office's controversial dispersal scheme.

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Wolverhampton's Britannia Hotel has been used to temporarily house hundreds of asylum seekers

Council leaders across the region are furious that asylum seekers are being temporarily housed in hotels, a move they say leaves local authorities unable to put the right support measures in place.

Around 200 asylum seekers have been in Wolverhampton's Britannia Hotel for the past month, while up to 135 are due to be placed in the Holiday Inn, Bridgtown, Cannock from this week. They include families, who are forced to cope with cramped conditions.

Serco, which runs the asylum seekers dispersal scheme for the Home Office, says it been left with "no alternative" but to use hotels due to "significant increases" in the number of people arriving in the UK.

More than 13,000 migrants are said to have made the journey across the English Channel to the UK this year.

200 asylum seekers and refugees are in the Britannia Hotel, Wolverhampton

Jenni Halliday, Serco’s contract director for asylum accommodation services, said: "With the significant increases in the number of people arriving in the UK we have been faced with no alternative but to temporarily accommodate some asylum seekers in hotels.

"These hotels are only used as a last resort but as a provider of accommodation services on behalf of the Home Office we have a responsibility to find accommodation for the asylum seekers that are being placed in our care.

"The Serco team is working extremely hard to move people into dispersed social housing as rapidly as possible."

Up to 135 asylum seekers are being placed at the Holiday Inn Birmingham North in Cannock

A Government spokesman said there was a determination "to end the use of temporary accommodation as soon as possible".

Staffordshire County Council leader, Alan White, said it was concerning that the authority had "no say" in the placing of asylum seekers in the county.

Last month Wolverhampton Council leader Ian Brookfield said that local authorities across the region were "bearing the brunt" of the UK's "broken" asylum system.

Earlier this year council leaders from seven West Midlands authorities asked to be pulled out of the dispersal scheme after claiming the region had taken more than its fair share of asylum seekers.

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