I know that there has been considerable discussion over the past week about the use of hotels in Banbury for asylum seekers.
The Home Office is required by law to provide accommodation for asylum seekers who would otherwise be homeless. They have a statutory duty to make sure it is decent, safe and humane. While asylum claims from abroad are not allowed, all asylum claims lodged from within the UK are given full and careful consideration. Those awaiting a decision need to be given somewhere safe and warm to stay.
We are all aware of the additional pressures placed on the system currently and hotels are playing an important part in this. I know that the Government is working hard to bring an end to hotel use as contingency accommodation altogether.
While hotels do remain a key part of the system, it is absolutely essential that all those previously employed by them are supported. The former operator should not use the Home Office’s intervention as an excuse not to pay their staff. It is unacceptable that those at the Whately Hall have found themselves in this position, particularly at this time of year.
I hope to be able to speak to Countrywide Hotels to discuss the situation with them, and encourage anyone with concerns to contact me directly. I will also remain in regular contact with both the Home Office and our local authority.