28th Nov, 2020

Bromsgrove 'one of many areas' to house asylum seekers during Coronavirus crisis

Tristan Harris 27th Apr, 2020 Updated: 27th Apr, 2020

BROMSGROVE is of many areas around the country earmarked by the Home Office to temporarily house asylum seekers during the Coronavirus lockdown.

The pandemic has had an impact on the current system because usually when processed and approved, applicants are then released from the free accommodation housing them, but that cannot be done with restrictions in place.

Adding to that, new claims are still arising so extra capacity is needed.

In a joint statement about the move, Bromsgrove District Council and Worcestershire County Council said: “We have been advised by the Home Office there has been a significant impact on the national asylum system due to Covid-19, particularly in ensuring sufficient accommodation.

“We have been made aware that the Home Office’s asylum accommodation providers have identified a location in the Bromsgrove district where a number of asylum seekers can be accommodated at this time.

“We were informed of the decision, which was taken directly by the providers under emergency Government measures during the Coronavirus outbreak.”

The councils have been assured there would be limited or no impact on local services and the district, county council and other partners are working together to meet the needs of the migrants who are vulnerable and with no UK family support.

It is believed the number could be anything up to 147.

“We expect a number of asylum seekers to start to be placed at a location in the Bromsgrove district over the coming weeks,” added the joint spokesperson.

Bromsgrove District Council leader Coun Karen May told the Standard this was a contract between the Home Office and SERCO, which provides vital community accommodation and support services for asylum seekers during the application process.

“Usually, although not a statutory requirement, the Home Office does consult with local authorities on placing asylum seekers but because these are emergency measures, there was not time to do so.

“This is not a case of Bromsgrove being singled out – there are a number of towns and cities in the Midlands and the north of England which will be housing these vulnerable people who have no family or support in the UK.”

The councils would be informed on a weekly basis on how many people would be placed.

The Standard has contacted the Home Office and is awaiting a reply.

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