Hotel rooms

The Home Office is using 30,000 hotel rooms across the UK to house refugees, GB News can reveal

Up to 30,000 hotel rooms across the UK are being taken over by the Home Office every day to house asylum seekers, pending their claims being processed, GB News can reveal.

A total of 37,000 asylum seekers are currently staying at the hotel, costing the UK taxpayer almost £5million a day.

With the government acknowledging the growing reliance on hotels as ‘unsustainable’, the first of some 1,500 asylum seekers are due to arrive at a former RAF base in North Yorkshire this week.

The controversial decision, which has angered residents of the nearby village of Linton-on-Ouse, is part of a package of measures aimed at tackling the growing accommodation crisis for asylum seekers and reducing the need expensive hotels.

Despite significant protests from villagers in Linton-on-Ouse, the first 60 asylum seekers, all young single men, will be bused to the base in the coming days.

If the Home Office can make the Linton-on-Ouse facility a success, it could pave the way for other former Ministry of Defense and Government sites to be used for centers of similar accommodation in the coming months.

Kathryn Dryden has lived in Linton-on-Ouse for six years.

Mark White addresses residents of Linton-on-Ouse

She told GB News that villagers were angry at the lack of any meaningful consultation between the Home Office and local people.

She said: “The biggest concern is really how many people will come.

“I have no problem with asylum seekers. I have no problem supporting a specific number of asylum seekers.

“The problem is the number of people who will come who will exceed the population of the village by almost three to one. Now that cannot be true.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘The unprecedented and unacceptable increase in dangerous small boat crossings continues to put enormous pressure on the UK’s broken asylum system.

Aerial footage of Linton-on-Ouse

Aerial footage of Linton-on-Ouse

“Under the new plan for immigration, we are reducing the current daily cost of almost £5million of using hotels to accommodate migrants with the new asylum center in Linton- on-Ouse and creating a fairer system for dispersing asylum seekers.

The Home Office also said it “will use a phased approach to develop Linton-on-Ouse, gradually increasing the number of asylum seekers accommodated at the site over the coming weeks”.

GB News traveled to Eastbourne in East Sussex, where asylum seekers are currently being accommodated in a number of hotels near the seafront.

We have accepted a request from the Home Office not to name the hotels, due to potential security concerns.

But all hotels commandeered by the Home Office are now closed to the general public, and anyone trying to book a room is referred to the booking agent, or the Home Office.

Eastbourne Seafront

Eastbourne Seafront

John Northfield recently tried to book a hotel near Bristol Airport but was told the hotel was no longer taking outside bookings.

“I was hoping to only stay one night before leaving for Tenerife in the morning.” He said.

“Just received an email saying unfortunately my booking had been cancelled, no explanation as to why I was cancelled.

“They just said the hotel was going to close for 12 months.

“I was just a little irritated that they didn’t explain to me why the hotel had been closed for 12 months.

“And obviously a lot of people across the country, trying to book hotels, are facing similar issues.”

In Eastbourne, asylum seekers in hotels are free to go, but the issue is sensitive for the Home Office.

Mark White speaks to asylum seekers in Eastbourne

Mark White speaks to asylum seekers in Eastbourne

As we were trying to interview two young Iranian men outside a hotel, a government guard told us we weren’t allowed to talk to them, before agreeing that we could talk to them.

In broken English, the two men told us they were Iranian Kurds and both 27 years old.

However, they would not say how they arrived in the UK.

The question of how best to house asylum seekers across the UK is a constant and growing headache for the Home Office.

On April 13, all local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales became a default dispersal area for asylum seekers.

This will require all local authorities to make more social housing and private rental accommodation available in their areas for the asylum seeker dispersal scheme.

But the issue of integrating large groups of mostly young men into communities across the country remains contentious after several concerning incidents in recent months.

Thames Valley Police have confirmed officers are currently investigating an incident in a park in Windsor in recent days where a group of schoolgirls were allegedly approached by two young asylum seekers.

One of the girls filmed the encounter on her smartphone, as the men asked the girls for personal details, even after learning they were only 15.

In Linton-on-Ouse, Dr Olga Matthias, who helped lead the campaign against the center for asylum seekers there, said she feared the plan would ‘end in disaster’.

Linton-on-Ouse

Linton-on-Ouse

“I think it’s quite certain that something will go wrong in the weeks and months to come.”

She says. “The Home Office has no history of successfully implementing any policy it invented, and I use the word invented deliberately because it certainly wasn’t thought through.

“It’s almost the end of the fag package policy, so anything they touch is a disaster. It’s a failing department.

“It’s failed for 40 years and it’s been a slow trajectory, but I think we’re now at the tipping point where it’s about to turn into a disaster. Something dreadful, or several dreadful, some things are going to happen.”

Of particular concern is the lack of facilities for asylum seekers in the village of Linton-on-Ouse, which has only a local shop on the high street, and no other amenities.

Responding to these concerns, the Home Office said: “Linton-on-Ouse is designed to be as self-contained as possible, minimizing any impact on local communities, services and the need to leave the site.

Linton-on-Ouse migrant camp described as ‘shameful’ and ‘unsuitable’ by raging local MP

“This includes the provision of full board accommodation and onsite recreation, exercise, shop, religious and religious facilities and medical facilities will be available.”

Catherine Dryden said: “We have seen in other communities, whether in hotels or on bases, wherever they have been, that they mix and hang around the communities.

“What are these people going to do?” They won’t have any money, so what they can actually do is minimal.

“Most will stay around the village and they will be bored to death.”

The need to adapt former military installations and to requisition more social housing and hotel accommodation will only grow, as long as thousands of people continue to cross the English Channel in small boats.

The government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda has not really started yet and risks being blocked by multiple legal challenges for a few months.

There is no way of knowing yet what deterrent effect, if any, this policy will have.

Meanwhile, the number of people arriving on small boats continues to grow at a faster rate than last year, which saw 28,526 people cross the Channel.

So far this year, despite several bad weather spells lately, almost 10,000 people have paid criminal gangs to ferry them across the English Channel in small boats.