8:01 AM, 9th November 2022, About 11 months ago 17
A councillor has accused private landlords of kicking out tenants to make room for asylum seekers because the landlord can earn more in rent from the Home Office.
The accusation was made by Julie Young at a meeting of Colchester Borough Council’s scrutiny panel meeting after revelations that the city could soon be home to 500 refugees.
Coun Young, who is responsible for housing, reportedly told councillors: “Colchester does have more refugees than any other town, by a country mile.
“While we are a welcoming town, it does leave us with a situation where we have a huge task on our hands to support those individuals.”
She then added: “Private landlords know they can get more money by making properties available to the Home Office.
“What we’re seeing is an increase in the amount of evictions that are going on in the town, to free up those properties so they can get additional revenue.”
The meeting heard that accommodation in Colchester will come under increasing pressure because they will have to accommodate refugees under the Home Office’s terms of resettlement.
Now, the council says it is concerned about the number of asylum seekers who have been arriving in designated hotels recently.
They say that sending asylum seekers to Colchester is putting already stretched council services under more pressure and this also impacts support organisations and local health services.
Council leader, Coun David King, said: “Colchester is proud to be a place of sanctuary. We have a long history of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers to our city-to-be.
“But I am angry at the Home Office’s failings and that we face new arrivals when others do not, when many of our partner authorities across the UK are not called upon to do their bit.”
He added: “We understand the pressures of the asylum system and that they use hotels as a short-term solution; but we get no advance warning from the Home Office when asylum seekers are placed in hotel accommodation, and we should, and need to, get adequate time for planning to make sure the much-needed wrap-around support is in place for these families.”
The arrival of asylum seekers has also caused concern in Worcester where one councillor has highlighted that 20 homes, which will probably be houses in multiple occupancy, will be needed to house them.
Coun Alan Amos says that by reducing housing supply for local people, the move will ‘force up rent’ in a cost-of-living crisis.
One of the town’s hotels has already been changed into asylum seeker accommodation and is home to 115 people.
Now, Serco is looking to house more asylum seekers and contacting private landlords to sign them up.
Councillor Amos told the Worcester Observer that while allocating 20 to 30 properties will have a minimal effect on a rented stock of several thousand properties, it does mean that people in need of accommodation will have fewer properties to choose from.
He added that there are more than 3,000 people on the town’s housing waiting list and criticised the priority given to housing ‘illegal immigrants’ and worried that approval has been recommended by the council for the housing scheme despite not knowing how much it will cost local taxpayers.
Previous ArticleProperty expert predicts further house price falls
Next Article3.1 students are chasing EVERY student bed