BREXIT Party Leader Nigel Farage was in town last Wednesday to make a film about the asylum seekers residing at the former Bromsgrove Hotel and Spa.
In the ten-minute YouTube video Mr Farage said residents had expressed concerns about the hotel housing the migrants who were ‘walking around the streets in groups, leading to women being too afraid to go out’.
He claimed there were 48,000 asylum seekers in the country and contracts between the Home Office and large companies would cost the taxpayer £4billion over the next ten years.
Mr Farage entered the hotel, attempted to book a room and then, after being told it was not open to the public, asked why it was full of people.
He questioned why those being housed there should be kept in a four-star hotel, fed, receive free medical treatment and given £40-a-week to spend.
He claimed, even if asylum applications were turned down, the migrants would still remain in the UK.
Also in the film he spoke to Catshill residents in their homes, slammed MP Sajid Javid for ‘not doing anything’ and questioned whether the arrangement was really temporary.
He concluded by calling for a proper debate and accusing the media of not covering the issue.
In response Mr Javid said: “I’ve raised this issue directly with the relevant Minister.
“He was clear that the use of hotels as initial accommodation for families, children and single people lawfully entitled to ask for asylum is necessary due to disruption caused by Covid-19.
“As such, it is strictly a temporary measure.”
The story fueled fierce debate on our Facebook page with more than 400 comments.
While many expressed support for Mr Farage’s views, others lambasted the visit.
Sam Evans from Bromsgrove Liberal Democrats contacted the Standard and said: “Whilst we understand concerns about illegal immigration, it is unacceptable that Mr Farage should travel to Bromsgrove to make a video criticising people temporarily housed here for safety reasons due to the pandemic.
“These people are not illegal immigrants and are legitimately housed in our local area whilst awaiting a decision on their status.
“Due to UK law they are prohibited from working in the UK.
“Nigel’s description of one of our hotels as ‘completely taken over’ by migrants is inaccurate and unacceptable.”
The Lib Dems accused Mr Farage of whipping up hatred in the local community, adding they were proud of the amazing kindness residents and groups had shown.
Local runners had provided sports equipment and there were many other generous donations at a time when people were experiencing their own hardships and challenges.
The emergency placement was organised in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
As reported previously, the contract is between Serco and the Home Office and, because of time restraints, the council was not consulted, as is usually the case.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The UK has a proud tradition of providing asylum to those who need it and the safety and wellbeing of those in our care is of the utmost importance.
“Throughout this pandemic, it has been necessary to temporarily house a number of asylum seekers in hotels in order to prevent them from being destitute and ensure they are able to follow social distancing guidelines.”