Jonathan Gullis – 2022 Parliamentary Question on Stoke and the Asylum Dispersal Scheme

The parliamentary question asked by Jonathan Gullis, the Conservative MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, in the House of Commons on 16 November 2022.

Jonathan Gullis (Stoke-on-Trent North) (Con)

Stoke-on-Trent, decades ago, voluntarily entered the asylum dispersal scheme, but enough is enough. We have done our bit for this country to protect some of the vulnerable people and illegal economic migrants who come here through safe countries such as France. I am sick to the back teeth of hotels being used in our great city and being dumped on by Serco because we voluntarily entered that scheme. The local authority is against it, as are the police and all three Stoke MPs, and for good reason. Islamic extremists such as Hizb ut-Tahrir are operating around the corner from the hotel. The far right is looking to recruit in our city. There is public anger and outrage about local services being depleted while services elsewhere are reinforced. When will the Minister tell Serco that Stoke-on-Trent has done its bit and to use it no more? If he will not, why not?

Robert Jenrick

We have taken further steps during my short tenure in the Department, and while my right hon. and learned Friend has been Home Secretary, to provide a fairer distribution of migrants across the country. The Home Secretary ensured that there was the mandatory dispersal of children, so that all local authorities can play a part in ensuring that children are in safe accommodation, whether that means in children’s homes or with state or private foster carers. We are also attempting to procure accommodation in a much broader range of local authorities. Historically, the issue centred on cities, including Stoke-on-Trent. We are now seeking to procure accommodation more broadly in smaller cities, towns and, in some cases, rural areas. That means, I am afraid, that as long as numbers are so high, more parts of the country will experience this issue, but it will ensure greater fairness in how we tackle it as a country.