Minister asked about asylum seeker centres
HALTON’S MP has sought details over what plans there are to open asylum seeker hostels within the next six months as a planning application for a facility in Widnes is due to be decided next year.
Derek Twigg has received written answers from the Home Office.
Mr Twigg addressed questions initally to Home Secretary Amber Rudd asking her which local authority areas and parliamentary constituencies are due to have hostels for asylum seekers opening within the first half of 2017.
A response received from Immigration Minster Robert Goodwill said that there are seven ‘ permanent initial accommodation’ centres currently in the UK including in Liverpool, Cardiff, Birmingham, London, Wakefield and Glasgow.
Mr Goodwill said: ● “However, we cannot comment on the individual locations of the centres for the safety of the asylum seekers housed there.”
A planning application was lodged with Halton Borough Council in August concerning the former Lilycross Care Centre on Wilmere Lane.
The facility was blasted as ‘inadequate’ by health sector watchdog the Care Quality Commission in 2015 before closing and offered accomodation for 60 people.
The plans envisage converting the ex-care home into a hostel offering temporary accomodation for up to 120 asylum seekers.
It would be run by Serco on behalf of the Home Office.
Thousands have signed an online petition on Change.org calling for the proposals to be rejected.
Mr Goodwill added in his response to the Halton MP that providers of Commercial And Operational Managers Procuring Asylum Support Services (COMPASS) are ‘currently exploring’ the feasibility of additional initial accommodation centres to temporarily accommodate asylum seekers.
The process is being undertaken with support from UK Visas And Immigration.
Mr Goodwill added: “However, no new sites have been confirmed and any that are proposed will be subject to consultation with the relevant local authority.” ●
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
Above, Derek Twigg and Robert Goodwill and below, Lilycross Care Centre