A small north Wales village and ex-military bases across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are being considered as part of a ‘desperate scramble’ by Home Office staff for new migrant accommodation, it has emerged.
Figures show more than 4,500 people have been detected crossing the English Channel in small boats this year, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak having recently vowed to end the housing of more than 51,000 asylum seekers in hotels.
The Government has already announced plans to establish new migrant accommodation on a barge in Dorset, as well as surplus military sites in Lincolnshire and Essex, and an old prison in East Sussex.
But, according to The Times, Home Office officials are scouring a list of disused crown properties to find further housing for at least 25,000 migrants.
An internal Government portal, said to be accessible only by civil servants and ministers above a certain security clearance, is reportedly being searched for places to host families with young children.
It has been revealed to include St George’s Barracks near the Rutland village of North Luffenham, which could house about 2,200 people.
A former military site in Feltham, west London, could provide accommodation for 800 people. The disused Forthside Barracks in Stirling could host 350 people.
And the Kinnegar Logistics Base, a military site in County Down, could accommodate 500 people.
It was also reported that a Hull-based company called Payman Holdings is being lined up to build cheap modular units to accommodate migrants.
It was said these could be installed in the north Wales village of Northop Hall in order to house about 250 migrants, which would increase the village’s population by a third.
A Home Office source was quoted as saying: ‘It feels like a desperate scramble to find any alternative accommodation, as ministers are increasingly frustrated about having to keep using hotels because the backlog in asylum cases remains stubbornly high.’
Mr Sunak last week said ‘it can’t be right’ that Britain is spending £6million a day on housing asylum seekers in hotels, as the PM repeated his promise to reduce the bill to taxpayers for migrant accommodation.
There are currently more than 51,000 asylum seekers in hotels. The Government is facing a backlash from local Tory MPs and councils – including the threat of legal action – over those sites it has already announced as new migrant accommodation.
The Home Office said it does not comment on commercial arrangements for individual sites used for asylum accommodation.
A spokesman said: ‘The number of people arriving in the UK who require accommodation has reached record levels and has put our asylum system under incredible strain.
Read More: Asylum seekers could be housed in a tiny village in Wales and ex-military bases in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland