Migration via lorries surges by 30 pc as think tank calls for border overhaul

Minister says housing asylum seekers in hotels was ‘never the right policy’ as closures announced

After announcing yesterday that the government will close 50 so-called migrant hotels over the next three months, Robert Jenrick said this morning that housing asylum seekers in hotels was “never the right policy”. 

Jenrick made a statement to the House of Commons yesterday in which he announced that the government will close 50 asylum hotels in the coming months, with more to follow after that.

It has been reported that another tranche of 50 hotels be closed by April.

Jenrick was asked this morning if it is true that none of the hotels closing to asylum seekers are in Labour constituencies.

He told Sky News that there was a “list of different constituencies” and that some of the closures are “of course” in Labour constituencies. 

“They’re a mix of different constituencies and in all four nations across the country. We don’t release the list for security reasons.”

Pressed whether this includes hotels in Labour areas, Jenrick said: “Of course, absolutely.”

He said that housing migrants in hotels was “never the right policy”, adding that it was “borne out of the very large numbers that were coming across a year or two ago, now fewer people are crossing thankfully — although there is a great deal more to do, [and] as a result we’re able to make this first step”.

He said that asylum seekers previously in hotels will now be housed in “cheaper and more appropriate forms of accommodation”.

He named “large military sites, the barge in Portland, and we’re finding cheaper forms of housing in areas across the country” as examples of the government’s work in this area. 

Elsewhere, Jenrick argued that high levels of illegal migration are putting “unbearable pressure” on housing and public services.

He said small boats crossings were “risking community cohesion”, telling Times Radio: “You have to stop the boats. You have got to reduce the amount of illegal migration into this country because it is placing unbearable pressure on our housing, our public services and risking community cohesion.

“As you say, rightly, we have been extremely generous as a country. Since 2015 we have granted over 530,000 humanitarian visas to Ukrainians, Hong Kongers, Syrians, Afghans and those from elsewhere in the world.

“That is the largest number of people coming into the country on humanitarian grounds in our modern history.

“It is just not possible for us to keep supporting such large numbers of illegal migrants and that is why we are taking the steps that we are to deter people from coming to this country with important policies like the Rwanda policy and that is why we are working hard to smash the people smuggling gangs and destroy the business model that they operate.”

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