'It's reckless': Sir Gavin hits out as Staffordshire hotels are 'filled' with asylum seekers

Sir Gavin Williamson has called out the "reckless" use of hotels to house asylum seekers after two sites in his constituency were taken over by the Home Office.

South Staffordshire MP Sir Gavin Williamson
South Staffordshire MP Sir Gavin Williamson

The South Staffordshire MP said the hotels had been "filled with asylum seekers" at short notice and without public consultation.

He demanded clarity from the Home Office and Serco – which operates the dispersal scheme – on when the hotels will return to their "proper purpose" of supporting local tourism.

Last month the Express & Star revealed that more than 20 hotels across the West Midlands were being used to house asylum seekers, with some closed to the public until next May.

The Home Office has ramped up the number of hotels being used for asylum seekers this year due to the numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the Channel from France in small boats.

Former cabinet minister Sir Gavin said: "I share my constituents’ real anger at the way that these hotels have been recklessly filled with asylum seekers with no discussion, no dialogue, and no consideration shown to local concerns.

"Moreover, Serco and the Home Office have failed to inform us how long these hotels are expected to house asylum seekers.

"As such, I am demanding clarity from Serco and the Home Office about when these hotels can go back to their proper purpose of supporting Staffordshire’s tourist industry."

The Home Office pledged to end the practice earlier this year, telling the Express & Star it was "unacceptable" to temporarily house asylum seekers in hotels.

Since then ministers have changed course, with council leaders in the West Midlands told to expect a 30 per cent increase in the use of hotels due to spiralling demand.

Care home operators in the region have also been sounded out over using empty sites for asylum seekers.

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