I share local residents’ concerns about the number of people arriving in the UK on small boats and the use of local facilities to accommodate them.
While I wholeheartedly believe that the UK should continue to provide refuge to those fleeing in genuine fear of their lives from around the world through established legal routes, the influx of migrants across the English Channel is putting significant strain on public finances and local services in the communities in which they are temporarily accommodated. This is not only to the detriment of local residents, but also to the refugees who have entered the UK through the Government’s refugee schemes.
Stopping the crossings would also bring an end to a huge source of revenue for the vile people smuggling gangs who facilitate them, who are relentlessly exploiting, threatening and abusing those crossing and using the profits for other criminal endeavours such as the drugs and weapons trades.
This is simply not acceptable and so I have been working hard to press for a resolution and to prevent more accommodation locally being used to house asylum seekers, having:
- Shared concerns about the use of hotels in Loughborough with the Home Office, especially the use of the Ramada Hotel for single males
- Written to the Chancellor ahead of the 2022 Autumn Budget to press the need for urgent intervention to help save the taxpayer money
- Asked the Home Secretary about returning those who do not qualify for asylum to their home countries during a Government statement
- Asked the Minister for Immigration about eligible asylum seekers claiming asylum in the first safe country they arrive in during an Urgent Question on migration
- Asked the Minister for Immigration about funding for local councils and police forces to support their work with asylum seekers housed in their area during an Urgent Question on hotel asylum accommodation and local authority consultation
- Asked the Prime Minister when there will be an actual reduction in the number of hotels used to house asylum seekers following the Government’s commitment to speeding up the processing of claims and using alternative sites during a Government statement
- Written to and spoken with the Prime Minister and Home Secretary directly about my concerns regarding the use of hotels within local communities and the need to speed up the processing of asylum seeker claims
- Liaised extensively with the Home Office, Leicestershire County Council and Leicestershire Police about the potential use of a hotel in Quorn to house asylum seekers and published a statement about this, as well as an update
- Supported the Government’s efforts to prevent the crossings through: the introduction of a new unified Small Boats Operational Command; tougher immigration enforcement with 200 new staff and better data sharing with banks; a doubling in the number of caseworkers and streamlining of the asylum process to clear the backlog; stronger return agreements; a working partnership with Rwanda; and closer co-operation with our allies
- Liaised extensively with Leicestershire County Council, Leicestershire Police and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service on the health and safety aspects of existing asylum seeker accommodation sites locally
- Voted in favour of the Illegal Migration Act, which aims to bring an end to the small boat crossings, throughout its passage through Parliament, as well as other legislative measures, which Labour have voted to block, delay or weaken 72 times
Going forward, I will continue to liaise with the Prime Minister, Home Office, our local councils, Leicestershire Police, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service and local residents about the use of local accommodation to house those arriving in the UK on small boats.