21 November 2017
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Government response to asylum housing report "really isn't good enough"
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Reports of the squalid state of housing provided for asylum seekers in the UK are not hard to come by. Just last week, the Institute of Race Relations published the latest in a series of reports looking at asylum seekers' housing in South Yorkshire where damp, rat infestations, and questionable fire safety worsen the already-dire situation for people seeking refuge.
See the government response (pdf) in which it states:
"The Home Office have continued to make improvements to the contracts to ensure sufficient accommodation is available, property standards meet the requirements of the contract and asylum seeker welfare is given appropriate focus. The Governments response details many of those improvements."
Report from South Yorkshire: I killed three maybe four rats in my kitchen this summer (IRR News, link):
The original report: House of Commons Home Affairs Committee: Asylum accommodation (31 January 2017, pdf)
And: comment from Yvette Cooper MP (parliament.uk, link):
"The Home Office has taken almost a year to provide us with a response to our report and it really isn't good enough. They claim to have spent the time reassuring themselves of the effectiveness of their "robust procedures" and "rigorous inspection regime".
I am far from convinced. Only last month, charities reported that unclean, vermin infested, damp conditions remain a common experience for asylum seekers arriving in the UK. It is difficult to know what exactly it will take before these shameful conditions are acknowledged and meaningful action taken.
These are vulnerable people, coming to this country to escape harrowing circumstances. We have a duty to provide safe, clean accommodation while their claim is assessed.
The Government is not taking this responsibility seriously enough. We will want to see improvements in this area, and for these recommendations to be taken up as the new approach is drawn up when current contracts run out in 2019."
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