Posted by Sam Fenny - Memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 11 July 2023

Home Office admits its paying for 5,000 empty hotel rooms for asylum seekers

The Home Office is paying for around 5,000 empty hotel beds for asylum seekers to avoid overcrowding at a detention centre amid high numbers of Channel crossings.

It is already paying more than £6m a day to house around 50,000 migrants in hotels, with controversial projects to use barges and military bases hit by delays and legal action.

The spending is a key driver behind the record £3.6bn annual cost for Britain’s asylum system and is being controversially funded through international aid money that should be going to crises abroad.

More than 1,300 migrants have arrived in small boats in three days, bringing the total figure for 2023 close to last year’s record levels despite Rishi Sunak’s pledge to stop the boats.

Appearing before parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, officials said there would not be a repeat of last autumn’s crisis at the Manston initial processing centre in Kent.

A man died during a diphtheria outbreak and some migrants attempted suicide, as people were detained unlawfully for weeks in crowded marquees.

A recent report by the prisons watchdog warned that the risk of overcrowding, disorder and disease would be repeated if the situation did not improve after the government extended detention time limits and downgraded safety standards.

Simon Ridley, the Home Office’s second permanent secretary, told MPs it had created “ringfenced hotels” to stop Manston from becoming overcrowded again.

“We have ringfenced hotels where we can move people quickly as an overflow out of Manston before coming into the permanent estate,” he said.

“We’ve got a buffer of as close to 5,000 beds as we can have so we always have an outflow. We’re carrying a large number of empty beds in order to let us move people out.”

Mr Ridley said the number of empty beds was currently under 5,000 because of large numbers of arrivals in recent days, but admitted that they were all being paid for.

Home Office permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft defended the move, saying: “We have to have a buffer somewhere because if we don’t, we know what happens.”

It came weeks after lawyers representing home secretary Suella Braverman told the High Court that the Home Office was facing a potential shortage of hotel places that could leave vulnerable asylum seekers homeless.

Fighting a council injunction against plans to house 1,700 migrants at the former Wethersfield RAF base in Essex, a barrister said the current situation qualified for a controversial emergency bypass of planning laws because it “threatens homelessness”.

Read More: Home Office admits its paying for 5,000 empty hotel rooms for asylum seekers

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