WORCESTERSHIRE councils have denied the Home Office’s claim that they should take responsibility for housing asylum seekers.
Following claims that The Pear Tree Inn and Country Hotel near Worcester, is being used as temporary accommodation for asylum seekers, the Home Office said it was urging local authorities to do all they can to help house people permanently.
However, Worcestershire County Council, Worcester City Council, Malvern Hills District and Wychavon District Councils, hit back, releasing a joint statement.
It said: “The arrangement of accommodation for those seeking asylum is a matter for the Home Office.”
The Home Office said it does not comment on operational arrangements for individual sites used for asylum accommodation, so it would not confirm if the claims made regarding the hotel are true.
However, a local resident contacted Newsquest saying the hotel is now closed to the public but residents had been kept in the dark about its change of use.
Despite several calls, nobody from the hotel would confirm or deny that it was being used for asylum seekers.
A Home Office spokesperson told the Worcester News that the use of hotels to house asylum seekers is “unacceptable.”
They 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.
“The use of hotels to house asylum seekers is unacceptable – there are currently more than 37,000 asylum seekers in hotels costing the UK taxpayer £5.6million a day.
“The use of hotels is a short-term solution and we are working hard with local authorities to find appropriate accommodation.”
The Home Office has assigned ‘Asylum Accommodation and Support Services Contracts’ to a variety of providers across the UK to help with housing.
For the West Midlands and East of England, Serco handles the asylum support services contract, with an estimated value of £1.9 billion according to the Serco website.
Home Office data also says that the total hotel cost is £6.8million, which includes the cost of accommodating asylum seekers in hotels at £5.6 million a day.