Asylum seekers “abandoned” and left “stranded in overcrowded hotel”

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One MP accused the government of “abandoning” dozens of asylum seekers by leaving them stranded in an “overcrowded” hotel.

Around 200 asylum seekers are currently accommodated at the Britannia Hotel in Standish, Wigan, according to the MEN.

But city deputy Lisa Nandy called the accommodation unsuitable and said the situation had “created huge concerns in the community.”

Some residents say police have been seen at the hotel on several occasions since the asylum seekers arrived in mid-July. Greater Manchester Police said they were working with the hotel after “receiving a number of reports” in recent weeks.

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The asylum seekers were placed in the hotel by Serco, which provides accommodation and support to those fleeing war and persecution in the UK while they await news about their immigration status.

The Almond Brook Road Hotel has previously been used as a temporary accommodation for asylum seekers, but was removed from Serco’s list of bases in 2017 following criticism from Ms Nandy about its suitability.

The decision to use the hotel also sparked controversy and criticism from residents, as a far-right group staged a protest outside the hotel.

Serco said he had since resumed using the hotel as a “last resort” due to “the significant increase in the number of people arriving in the UK”.



Around 200 asylum seekers are currently accommodated at the Britannia Hotel in Wigan

Ms Nandy said she was “extremely worried” to learn that the hotel was being used again and asked Serco to find “other suitable accommodation”.

She added: “The last time the Britannia was used, every agency involved accepted that this was totally unsuitable accommodation, and the support Serco provided failed to those who were placed in the hotel and the local community at large.

“Neither Serco nor the Interior Ministry had the courtesy to discuss it with me, the Council, the police or the community before deciding to use this accommodation again and the Interior Minister refused to engage in the slightest correspondence.

“This is no way to deal with our local communities or the vulnerable asylum seekers who are now stranded in overcrowded hotel rooms without wider support.

“Here in Wigan, we have a proud history of welcoming refugees from all over the world and have recently worked with leaders, charities and volunteers in Greater Manchester to ensure resettlement and support for Afghan families.



Wigan MP Lisa Nandy criticized the hotel’s suitability as a temporary base for asylum seekers

“This is in stark contrast to the shameful approach taken by the Home Secretary and Serco who effectively abandoned many vulnerable young men and created enormous anguish within the community.

“I contacted the local police and community partners to try to persuade Serco to resolve the many concerns that were registered with them about this arrangement and I made it clear to the Home Office and Serco that this hotel should be removed from their list and they should work with the local authority and local partners to find alternative and suitable accommodation.

Claudette Dwyer, who lives opposite the hotel, said she “doesn’t care” that it is used to house asylum seekers.

“They didn’t cause us any problems,” said Ms Dwyer, 27.

“I don’t mind it being used if that helps. If it was me, I would like to think I can go somewhere safe.

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said she “felt sorry” for the asylum seekers – who she said were mostly young men.

“They have nothing to do,” she said. “They just wander the streets.

“It’s a residential area, I don’t think it’s the right place for them.

“I saw a lot of police cars which is very worrying.”

On TripAdvisor, the Britannia Hotel in Wigan has been ranked two out of five by visitors while the hotel chain has been ranked the worst in the UK for eight consecutive years.



Police say they have worked with hotel after “receiving a number of reports” in recent weeks

Jenni Halliday, Serco’s Contracts Manager for Accommodation Services for Asylum Seekers, said: “With the significant increase in the number of people arriving in the UK, we have had no choice but to ” temporarily accommodate certain asylum seekers in hotels.

“These hotels are only used as a last resort, but as a provider of accommodation services on behalf of the Home Office, we have a responsibility to find accommodation for asylum seekers in our care.

“The Serco team is working extremely hard to move people to dispersed social housing as quickly as possible. “

A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said: “Due to the unprecedented demand, we have had to use temporary accommodation such as hotels to manage asylum requests. In hotels, all families receive full board meals and all the basic essentials they need.

“We encourage all local authorities to work with us to support the provision of accommodation in their areas for those who are resettling or seeking asylum in the UK.”

Neighborhood Inspector Phil James of the Wigan Division of Greater Manchester Police said: ‘We want everyone who lives in or visits Wigan to feel safe on the streets. A number of reports have been made to us these past few weeks and we have listened to the concerns of community members.

“To help resolve these issues and reassure those residing in the area, we have increased the number of officers patrolling. So if you have any concerns, please contact our agents and let them know.

“When serious incidents were reported to us with credible lines of inquiry, we responded promptly and supported those affected. You can also report any incidents online at www.gmp.police.uk.

“We continue to work with the local council, hotel and other community partners to support all members of our community that Wigan is a safe place to live and work.”

A spokesperson for Wigan Council said: “We are working closely with our colleagues at GMP, community organizations and local councilors to ensure that all reported concerns are addressed and addressed in the most appropriate way, and also to coordinate offers of asylum aid and support. applicants while they are in our borough.

“We also keep in regular contact with the Home Office and Serco, who are responsible for the management of the hotel, to raise any issues.

“If residents have concerns or believe a crime has been committed, we continue to strongly advise them to report any such incident to Greater Manchester Police.”

Britannia Hotels have been approached for comment.


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