BREXIT Party Leader Nigel Farage was in the town yesterday to make a video about asylum seekers currently being housed in the Bromsgrove Hotel and Spa and other similar venues.
In the ten-minute film – on his YouTube channel and shared to his social media accounts – Mr Farage said he had been contacted by residents from Bromsgrove and other areas who were criticising the decision to use hotels to house migrants.
He claimed there were 48,000 asylum seekers in the country and, with contracts between the Home Office and large companies, such as Serco, it would cost the taxpayer £4billion over ten years.
He was seen speaking to residents in Catshill and claimed local people had contacted him to say there were concerns about the asylum seekers walking around the streets in groups and women were afraid to go out.
Also in the film his driver drove him around the hotel for a look around before he entered to ask if he could book a room, then questioning if it was not open why was it full of people.
And he questioned why those being housed should be kept in a four-star hotel, fed, receive free medical treatment and claimed, even if their asylum claims were turned down, they would still remain in the UK.
He concluded by calling for a proper debate on the issue and accused the media of not covering the issue.
His visit was slammed by the Bromsgrove Liberal Democrats who accused him of whipping up hatred in the local community, adding they were proud of the amazing kindness local residents had shown to those seeking asylum.
Lib Dem spokesperson Sam Evans 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.”
Mr Evans said among the examples were local runners donating sports equipment and other generous donations even though many people were experiencing their own hardships and challenges.
The contract is between Serco and the Home Office and Bromsgrove District Council confirmed to us back in April because they were emergency measures there was not time to consult the local authority.
We have contacted Serco about Mr Farage’s visit and are awaiting a reply.
Serco told us in May it had taken all appropriate measures and precautions to look after the asylum seekers in its care in line with Government and Public Health England guidelines and instructions.
It added the asylum seekers were issued with robust PHE approved written guidance on Covid-19 in respect of social distancing, self-isolation and advice on personal hygiene and self care.
It praised the Bromsgrove community saying the ‘overall reaction from people was incredibly supportive’.
Mr Farage also questioned in his film whether the housing was temporary but the Home Office told us in May: “We have moved asylum seekers, where necessary to do so, into temporary accommodation to protect them and ensure social distancing.
“This is to help stop the spread of coronavirus in line with public health guidance.
“We would like to acknowledge the work that local authorities have done to support these temporary arrangements.“
Bromsgrove MP Sajid 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.”