Compelling news from the refugee and migrant sector
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

UK under fire over ‘tents for refugees’ policy

8 August 20230 comments

The UK government is facing a backlash over plans to house asylum seekers in tents as part of the government’s controversial migration and asylum policies.

British media has reported that UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman is working on plans to use marquees as accommodation if, as expected, there is a rise in the number of people arriving across the English Channel by small boats.

Tents have reportedly been ordered to be deployed next month on disused military bases, housing up to 2,000 people.

According to media reports, a source said “some in government” likened the accommodation to concentration camps.

But a Home Office source is reported to have said the temporary accommodation was appropriate and used in other countries.

Last year, the Home Office erected a number of temporary tents at former military base in Kent.

Reports at the time said people were sleeping on mats on the floor in overcrowded conditions and were shut up without access to fresh air.

A refugee charity accused the Home Secretary of trying to “demonise people seeking asylum”.

Chief executive of Refugee Action, Tim Naor Hilton, said: “This is yet another way the government has developed to demonise people seeking asylum, which is rooted in its deeply racist approach to refugee protection.

“It really shouldn’t be too much to ask that people who have fled violence, torture and persecution have their claims assessed quickly and justly and are housed in safe homes in our communities.”

Opposition Labour MP Diane Abbott said: “Braverman wants to house asylum seekers in marquees regardless of any health and safety considerations. Shameful.”

The government has pledged to stop overcrowded dinghies making the journey from northern France to the UK.

More than 45,000 people arrived in Britain across the Channel in 2022, and several died in the attempt.

UK courts have ruled a plan to deport refugees to Rwanda as unlawful.

A Government spokesperson said that the continued use of hotels to house asylum seekers was unacceptable.

There are currently more than 51,000 asylum seekers in hotels costing the UK taxpayer £6 million a day.

“We continue to work across Government and with local authorities to look at a range of accommodation options,” the spokesman said.

“Accommodation offered to asylum seekers, on a no-choice basis, meets our legal and contractual requirements.”