Asylum: Housing

Home Office written question – answered on 18th November 2020.

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Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her timescale is for moving asylum seekers in (a) Glasgow and (b) elsewhere in the UK from the hotel accommodation to which they were transferred back to appropriate accommodation.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

It is Home Office policy to move people into suitable Dispersed Accommodation (DA) once their claim for support has been assessed

The current global pandemic has presented significant challenges in relation to the provision of asylum accommodation. To mitigate these challenges, we have had to source sufficient accommodation to meet demand, including hotels.

Hotels are utilised as contingency accommodation on a temporary basis, whilst pressures in the system are addressed and hotel use will be discontinued as soon as the Home Office is able to do so.There are currently 5,168 asylum seekers accommodated in Glasgow, of which a peak of 405 were in hotels at one point, but this has now been reduced to 237 and we are aiming to get to zero as soon as practicable.

Availability of DA is crucial to plans and timelines for reductions in hotel use. A comprehensive plan for the cessation of asylum support for ineligible cases has been established with input from Local Authorities, Other Government Departments and Stakeholders to assist in this regard.

180 Local Authorities out of 414 across the United Kingdom currently allow asylum seekers to be dispersed in their area. In Scotland, only Glasgow City Council has agreed to allow the dispersal of asylum seekers within their Local Authority area. We would encourage Local Authorities across the United Kingdom, including Scotland to participate so that we can reduce the number of people accommodated in hotels and create an equitable system of asylum dispersal.

We will continue to work with Local Authorities across the UK to increase the number of DA properties available to our accommodation service providers. In Glasgow we attend fortnight partnership boards with Glasgow City Council and Scottish Goverment to discuss DA procurement and hotel reduction.

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