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Labour objects to government plans for new asylum hotel in Newport Pagnell

MK Labour has raised objections to a plan by the Conservative government for a new asylum hotel next to the M1 services in Newport Pagnell.

Milton Keynes City Council has submitted a formal objection to the Home Office in response to its plans to house up to 250 asylum seeking families in a Newport Pagnell hotel.

The City Council was made aware of the plans in an email from the Home Office last week. The City Council has raised concerns that placing vulnerable people on a busy motorway junction will put them at risk to people smugglers, exploitation and be at higher danger of absconding.

The City Council has also highlighted the pressure placing asylum seekers in Milton Keynes is having on local council services, especially housing. Recent figures show over 800 local homeless families are in temporary accommodation, costing £16m a year from the Council budget.

With over 90% of asylum seekers being granted refugee status, the City Council is worried that housing pressures will continue to rise as local councils have a housing duty to provide accommodation to those legally granted asylum. Last week alone, the City Council had 13 housing support applications from people newly granted asylum.

The Conservatives’ plans to open another asylum hotel in Newport Pagnell will come as a shock to residents, as only last month the government were forced into a humiliating climb down over plans to move asylum seekers into another hotel, only for it to be revealed that the Home Office was paying a company owned by a convicted criminal. Mystery still surrounds what the long-term plans are for that hotel.

Cllr Pete Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes City Council, said:

“Milton Keynes City Council has formally objected after being informed of Conservative government plans to use yet another hotel in Newport Pagnell to accommodate asylum seekers. Placing vulnerable people next to a busy motorway service station is a terrible idea. It raises all sorts of safety issues regarding people smugglers and risk of absconding. It’s incredibly dangerous.

“There is also a massive impact on our council budget, with 13 new refugee families seeking housing support only last week when there is already a housing crisis in the city.”

Chris Curtis, Labour spokesperson for MK North, added:

“It is typical that this Conservative government have made yet another proposal that is a kick in the teeth for the people of Newport Pagnell. You’d think they’d have learned from their catastrophic handling of giving cash to a convicted criminal, but it’s clear by proposing this totally unsuitable hotel they have learned nothing. The asylum system remains a total shambles.”

Cllr Marland concluded:

“The people of Milton Keynes are generous and have a long history of supporting asylum seekers in their time of need. However, there needs to be a plan and it’s clear that there isn’t one from this Conservative government. There has obviously been no assessment done on the site or how using it will impact those being moved there, or the wider local community. It’s a bad idea and we will oppose it.”


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