Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : 150 asylum hotels returned to communities [April 2024]

The press release issued by the Home Office on 10 April 2024.

Fifty more asylum hotels are due to be closed, building on the closure of the first 100 at the end of March.

One hundred and fifty asylum hotels will be closed by the beginning of May, reducing the strain of illegal migration on local communities, as discussions progress between the Home Office and the local council on the future use of RAF Scampton.

The department is making rapid progress on returning hotels to communities, building on the closure of the hundredth hotel last month, and moving residents into large sites and the private rented sector.

More hotels will be closed in due course, delivering on the Home Secretary’s promise to reduce the use of this type of accommodation.

This means there are 20,000 fewer asylum seekers in hotels than 6 months ago, down from more than 56,000 at the end of September 2023 – a reduction of 36%.

Hotel accommodation, which has cost more than £8 million a day, has always been intended as a temporary solution to ensure the Home Office meets the statutory obligation to accommodate asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute during a period of unprecedented numbers of small boat arrivals.

The Home Office continues to negotiate with a range of accommodation providers to find the most affordable accommodation to ensure the greatest value for money and reduce reliance on hotels. Such accommodation relieves pressure on communities and manages asylum seekers in a more appropriate way, bringing the UK in line with the approach taken by other countries in Europe.

Large sites, such as former military sites and barges, reduce demand on an already pressured private rental market, and their larger capacity allows the Home Office to be agile in responding to fluctuations in demand.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said:

We promised to end the use of asylum hotels and house asylum seekers at more appropriate, cheaper accommodation; we are doing that at a rapid pace.

These closures deliver on the government’s plan to cut the use of hotels in the asylum system and we will keep going until the last hotel is closed.

Alongside hotel closures, the government committed at the end of March to accommodating a smaller number of asylum seekers at RAF Scampton for the shortest possible time in response to local concerns.

The government recognises the heritage assets of Scampton, the vital role it played in the Second World War and the importance of the site to the local community.

The site, which has not yet been opened, is equipped with medical and security services, and the Home Office has limited occupancy to 800 people – rather than 2,000 as originally proposed – to minimise the impact on community cohesion.

The Home Office and West Lindsey District Council continue to work together towards a joint agreement to give greater clarity on the future use of the site for asylum seekers and the community. Those discussions are progressing and we will set out further details in the coming weeks.

The government wants the site to benefit the local community for the long term and be redeveloped for other uses such as tourism, education and research.

The reduction in hotel use is just one part of the government’s relentless action to reduce the strain illegal migration continues to place on British taxpayers. Ultimately, the best way to save money is by deterring people from coming to the UK illegally in the first place, and our partnership with Rwanda intends to do just that.

Government action to crack down on criminals, deter migrants from making dangerous crossings and, alongside our French counterparts, intercept vessels, saw a reduction in small boat crossings by 36% last year. The government also continues to run campaigns to deter would-be migrants from beginning perilous journeys.