Ibis Hotel - Home Office response
On October 25th, the Home Office announced that they would be ending the use of 50 hotels for housing asylum claimants. This followed pressure from human rights groups as well as those who outlined the cost of the scheme.
The UK has seen a significant rise in the number of people claiming asylum over the last few years and so hotels have been used to accommodate claimants whilst they wait for their case to be heard.
In a majority of cases, around 70% of the time, the courts grant asylum to those claiming. Meaning that they are legitimate asylum seekers, fleeing genuine trouble. However, the government needs to speed up the processing of claims as it is not suitable to leave people in hotels for such a long period of time.
Following the government's announcement, I wrote to the Minister to confirm if Romford's Ibis Styles hotel will be one of the 50 no longer used. This followed a number of residents approaching me to ask about what is happening with the hotel.
The Home Office's response to me is below. They are unable to confirm to me if the Ibis Hotel will be closed. However, I am informed that MPs and council Chief Executives will have been informed.
In my opinion, we must act swiftly and compassionately to ascertain the legitimacy of those claiming asylum in the UK. Given the state of the world right now, there are many reasons to relocate to the UK. For example, thousands of young Afghan men served alongside the British Army in combating the Taliban. These men risked their lives for our country and your freedom, we owe it to them to give them safe passage from Taliban occupied Afghanistan.
Similarly, the faster we can process these claims, the quicker these claimants can begin to build their life here. Earning a wage, paying taxes, and supporting our economy.
Home Office Response:
07 November 2023
Dear David Taylor,
Thank you for your email of 25 October 2023 about asylum seeker accommodation in your
area. Your email has been passed to Asylum Support, Resettlement and Accommodation
for a reply.
The Home Office has always been clear the use of hotels was a short-term measure to
ensure that we meet our statutory obligation to accommodate asylum seekers who would
otherwise be destitute during a period of unprecedented numbers of small boat arrivals.
Our comprehensive plan to tackle illegal migration is making progress. For the first time
since the phenomenon of small boats began four years ago, arrivals are down by more
than 20 per cent compared with the equivalent period of 2022 despite increases in arrivals
in Europe of 100 per cent in some countries.
Additionally, we have brought forward more appropriate forms of asylum accommodation
including large disused military sites and The Bibby Stockholm which are less costly to the
taxpayer and can be better managed by communities. Within the existing estate we have
reformed estate management to maximise the occupancy of the existing contingency and
dispersal estate, which has prevented an additional 72 hotels being occupied and saved
the taxpayer millions of pounds. We also remain on track to clear the legacy backlog by
the end of the year as a result of significant increases in the productivity of our asylum
As a result of these measures, we are now able to stop the procurement of new asylum
hotels and begin the first phase of hotel exits. This will involve more than 50 hotels being
exited as asylum accommodation by end of January 2024. The first tranche of asylum
hotels we are exiting is comprised of those hotels that have among the greatest impact on
their communities, imposed the greatest cost to the taxpayer and are operationally
deliverable in the coming weeks and months. Hotel closures will be undertaken in all four
nations of the UK. As we continue to deliver on our plan to stop the boats, we will be able
to exit more asylum hotels.
All local authority Chief Executives and MPs have already been informed if an asylum
hotel in their area is being exited in this first tranche of hotel closures, along with a specific
date by which it will have closed. Existing mechanisms remain in place as forums for
For the safety, security, and wellbeing of those we accommodate, we do not publicly
comment on individual hotels which may or may not be utilised by the Home Office.
The Government has always been clear that hotels are an inappropriate form of
accommodation and that we must stop using them as soon as possible. People in
communities up and down the country want to see their hotels going back to their normal
use, the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, and the Minister of State for Immigration will
work tirelessly to see that happen.
I trust this response has gone some way to alleviate your concerns.
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