MP frustrated as Mansfield hotel used to house more than 30 asylum seekers

Mansfield's Market Place.
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

Mansfield’s MP has expressed his frustration as 34 asylum seekers were placed in a hotel in his town by the Home Office.

Councillor Ben Bradley (Con) says the hotel is not the “right place” for the asylum seekers and believes a different system is needed to house them.

The hotel, which cannot be named for legal reasons, is being used as a temporary base while the asylum seekers’ claims are processed.

Mansfield District Council confirmed it received a request from the Home Office to use the hotel on Sunday (November 13).

But Cllr Bradley, who also leads Nottinghamshire County Council, claims the asylum seekers have been in the building since last Saturday (November 12).

He has expressed his frustration and claimed people who were using the hotel as temporary accommodation have now presented to the council as homeless.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “It’s incredibly frustrating.

“In doing so, they have turfed out residents who were already in there for temporary accommodation and who have presented themselves as homeless.

“It’s not on, to be honest. There’s a bigger picture here, which is tackling the issue and stopping people from coming.

“But when it comes to communication, they’ve picked an area of town that’s not the right area and is not the right provision.

“They’ve not told us about it, they’ve not told us what services we need to put around it, and they’ve made people homeless in Mansfield as a result.

“It’s not being very well-managed by Serco, the company in charge of it.”

It’s one of many hotels being used by contractors Serco and the Home Office amid increasing pressure on the asylum system across the UK.

Another hotel in Long Eaton, which also has not been named, is being used for the same purposes.

Serco says it doesn’t comment on specific sites but told the Local Democracy Reporting Service it “did not remove existing residents from the hotel”.

It says people are removed from hotels “for the safety and wellbeing” of people in its care after recent activities from some far-right groups.

Jenni Halliday is Serco’s contract director for asylum accommodation services.

She said: “With the significant increases in the number of people arriving in the UK, we have been faced with no alternative but to temporarily accommodate some asylum seekers in hotels.

“These hotels are only used as a last resort.

“But, as a provider of accommodation services on behalf of the Home Office we have a responsibility to find accommodation for the asylum seekers that are being placed in our care.

“The Serco team is working extremely hard to move people into dispersed social housing as rapidly as possible.”

Mansfield District Council confirmed it has liaised with Serco and the Home Office to support the asylum seekers.

A council spokesperson said: “As part of our statutory duty, we will work as a part of a multi-agency response to ensure those dispersed from their home countries are supported at this time and fulfil our duty to help those who are successful in being resettled in the UK.

“We will continue to ensure that services are made available to all vulnerable members of our community when they are needed.”

Regarding the previous occupants who Cllr Bradley claims have been made homeless, the authority confirmed support is on offer.

The Home Office has been approached for a comment on the cost to the taxpayer of using the Mansfield hotel.

It’s as record numbers of asylum seekers and migrants cross the British Channel on boats from France.

Earlier this month, Home Secretary Suella Braverman confirmed more than 40,000 people have made the journey so far this year.

She said it is putting “unprecedented pressure” on the asylum system and is costing the Home Office millions of pounds a day housing migrants in hotels.

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