The government has announced that surplus military sites will accommodate asylum seekers who enter the UK without proper documentation and to reduce reliance on expensive hotel use.
The Home Office will set up alternative accommodation sites on surplus military sites of Scampton, Lincolnshire and Wethersfield, Essex. A site in Bexhill, East Sussex will also be introduced in the coming months.
In addition, the government is exploring the use of vessels to provide accommodation in line with the approach taken by the Netherlands and Scotland.
Why is the current asylum accommodation model not working?
The rise in small boat crossings to the UK has placed an unprecedented burden on communities. Last year, more than 45,000 migrants made the dangerous journey across the Channel. With record numbers of asylum seekers arriving on shores, the government has had to open contingency hotel accommodation to meet that obligation.
The new alternative asylum accommodation sites
The minister set out an update in Parliament on the ongoing work being done across government to secure alternative, more appropriate, cost-effective accommodation options around the country.
These large-scale sites will house asylum seekers in basic and functional accommodation whilst they await a decision on their claim. People whose claims are refused and have exhausted their appeal rights will be removed from the UK.
Who will be on the sites?
Asylum seekers who have come to the UK without proper documentation via a small boat will be housed in these sites until their asylum claim is processed.
These sites will accommodate non-detained, single adult male asylum seekers only. Both Wethersfield and Scampton are due to accommodate about 200 people initially, with capacity gradually increasing over a three-month period to up to 1,700 at Wethersfield and 2,000 at Scampton. In Bexhill, there are plans to accommodate up to 800 people in phase one of the site opening, going up to 1,200 by the end of the year.
The former MOD site was announced for disposal when it became surplus to defence requirements.
The Home Office has taken over the running of the site and has developed proposals for its use for asylum accommodation.
Wethersfield will provide basic, safe ccommodation for asylum seekers and is designed to be as self-sufficient as possible, helping to minimise the impact on local communities and services.
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