MPs slam '˜disgraceful' state of housing for refugees

A cross-party group of MPs have called for the Government to take 'immediate action' to improve housing conditions for refugees, as they warn the state of existing accommodation is a 'disgrace'.
Pontefract MP and Home Affairs Committee chairman Yvette CooperPontefract MP and Home Affairs Committee chairman Yvette Cooper
Pontefract MP and Home Affairs Committee chairman Yvette Cooper

In a damning new report, members of the Home Affairs select committee claim some families are being forced to live in “rat-infested homes”, while elderly residents are being given rooms at the top of multiple fights of stairs.

The panel suggests the poor conditions are the result of a rise in the number of asylum applications and Home Office processing delays, which are putting extra pressure on housing providers.

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They have called for a “major reform” of the system, so that Britain can continue to “do its bit” to help individuals “in need of sanctuary”.

Commenting on the findings, committee chairman Yvette Cooper said the current situation “just isn’t working”. “The state of accommodation for some asylum seekers and refugees in this country is a disgrace,” she said.

“We have come across too many examples of vulnerable people in unsafe accommodation – for example, children living with infestations of mice, rats or bed bugs, lack of health care for pregnant women, or inadequate support for victims of rape and torture.

“Even where the accommodation and support are of a good standard, it is still far too concentrated in the most deprived areas.

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“The Home Office needs to act urgently to raise standards, improve the inspection regime, deal with delays... and ensure there is adequate funding.”

Since 2012 accommodation for asylum seekers has been provided via six regional contracts, delivered by Serco, G4S and Clearsprings Ready Homes. Responding to the report, a Home Office spokeswoman said: “We work closely with our contractors to ensure they provide accommodation that is safe, habitable, fit for purpose and adequately equipped, and we conduct regular inspections.”