Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury hotel's contract to house asylum seekers to be terminated, says government

A major town centre hotel will no longer be used to house asylum seekers from this summer, the Government has confirmed.

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Shrewsbury & Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski announced the news after receiving a letter from the minister for migration

In a letter to Shrewsbury & Atcham's Conservative MP, Daniel Kawczynski, Tom Pursglove MP, the Minister for Legal Migration and the Border, has revealed the contract for The Lion Hotel on Shrewsbury's Wyle Cop is being terminated.

Mr Pursglove said asylum seekers at the hotel would be relocated before the 'final closure date' at the beginning of July.

He also said that some residents at the hotel may only get five days' notice that they are being moved.

Mr Kawczynski, who has been pressuring the Government to end the arrangement with the hotel, said he welcomed the move.

He said: "I have had extensive meetings with the minister responsible.

"I started that because tourism is our number one income generator. It is wholly inappropriate for a hotel of this kind, in the centre of our town, to be used for these purposes and I am very pleased the minister has listened to my concerns and has now terminated the contract with The Lion Hotel."

Mr Pursglove's letter states: "The Home Office has always been clear that the use of hotels was a short-term measure to ensure we meet our statutory obligation to accommodate asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute during a period of unprecedented numbers of small boat arrivals.

"Our comprehensive plan to tackle illegal immigration is making progress. Government action to crack down on evil criminal gangs, deter migrants from making dangerous crossings and increase cooperation with our French counterparts saw a reduction in small boat crossings by 36 per cent last year.

"We have also brought forward more appropriate forms of asylum accommodation, including large sites, such as former military sites and barges, which reduce demand on an already pressured private rental market and provide capacity at scale which enables the Home Office to be agile in responding to fluctuations in demand.

"We have reformed estate management to maximise the occupancy of the existing contingency and dispersal estate, preventing an additional 72 hotels being opened and saving the taxpayer millions of pounds. This important work will continue."

He added: "Having now closed 100 hotels, I am pleased that we are now able to go further and I can therefore inform you that the Home Office is terminating the contract with Lion Hotel, Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury, as asylum accommodation and confirm it will cease being used at the beginning of July 2024, reflecting the contractual notice period of this property.

"Residents currently accommodated in the hotel will be moving to other parts of our asylum estate and we aim to complete all relocations in advance of the final closure date.

"Residents will be notified a minimum of five days in advance and moved by the Home Office in line with our existing contractual agreements."

Mr Kawczynski said he spent the last six weeks meeting with ministers to raise the matter.

He said: "I've had various meetings with the Home Office minister said repeatedly they have to careful how they pick hotels especially in constituencies where tourism is important for the local economy and tourism is vital to Shrewsbury so to take one of our hotels out of use has a detrimental effect."

He added: "I've had an increasing number of letters from Shrewsbury residents who were not happy with the status quo and I felt compelled to go to government. I convinced them that right in the heart of Shrewsbury in one of our four-star hotels is not the optimum place for asylum seekers."

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