Migrants to be moved out of hotels and into former student halls, military bases and disused ferries

25 March 2023, 11:20 | Updated: 25 March 2023, 11:21

The Home Office said there has been a "significant increase in dangerous and illegal journeys into the country"
The Home Office said there has been a "significant increase in dangerous and illegal journeys into the country". Picture: Getty/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The government is expected to announce plans to move migrants out of hotels and onto "alternative sites", including former student halls, military sites and even disused ferries.

The Home Office has already made clear that it intends to put an end to migrants being housed in hotels due to "unprecedented pressure" on the UK's asylum system.

There is a range of alternative sites being considered by the government, including former student halls and disused military bases.

That includes RAF Scrampton, a disused Royal Air Force based in Lincolnshire, where around 1,500 asylum seekers could be housed.

RAF Scrampton
RAF Scrampton. Picture: Alamy

The government said it is working with local authorities to identify a range of accommodation options to deal with "unprecedented pressure brought about by a significant increase in dangerous and illegal journeys into the country".

But the plans have been met with criticism by historians and politicians.

Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Lincoln, Hamish Falconer, has launched a petition that opposes the plans, attracting more than 40,000 signatures.

An open letter penned by 40 historians reads: "To erase Scampton's heritage, rather than preserve, protect and enhance it further, would be a scandalous desecration of immeasurable recklessness."

It is understood government plans to move migrants out of hotels are to be announced in a few weeks

Read More: Lifetime ban for Channel migrants as government vows small boat arrivals will 'never come back'

Read More: Number of UK hotels housing migrants doubles to nearly 400 in five months

It comes as the number of hotels in the UK housing migrants doubled to nearly 400 in five months.

There are 363 hotels housing migrants in England, 20 in Northern Ireland, ten in Scotland and two in Wales.

It means the number of hotels housing migrants has doubled from around 200 in November, with 51,000 people housed.

Plans to move migrants out of hotels will be announced in weeks
Plans to move migrants out of hotels will be announced in weeks. Picture: Getty

An extra 100 hotels, with around 9,000 places, were secured by the government between September and November last year, according to the BBC.

Home Office minister Robert Jenrick accused some home nations of not taking their fair share of migrants, saying "there are fewer hotels in Scotland than there are in Kensington".

"There are more hotels in Earl’s Court than there are in Labour Wales," Mr Jenrick said.

Read More: Suella Braverman 'encouraged' by talks with European Court of Human Rights as she prepares Rwanda migrant push

Read More: Government's Rwanda deportation scheme ruling can be appealed, High Court says

It comes after the home secretary visited Rwanda ahead of plans to deport migrants to the African nation in the summer.

The government will likely require the injunction to be changed in order for flights to Rwanda to get "off the ground", according to a government source.

Speaking from Rwanda, Ms Braverman said: "The government has been clear that the opaque Strasbourg process which led to the last-minute grounding of our Rwanda flight with a Rule 39 order last year was deeply flawed."

Suella Braverman visits Rwanda
Suella Braverman visits Rwanda. Picture: Getty

"That's why we have measures in our bill that will address how the UK intends to comply with such orders in the future.

"But I've been encouraged by the government's constructive recent discussions with Strasbourg, including around possible reforms to Rule 39 procedures, which is obviously something we'd like to see."

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