Close Napier and Penally Barracks

Thank you for contacting me about Asylum accommodation conditions.

I understand you have concerns regarding the conditions of these facilities. I know that the Government takes the welfare of people in Home Office care extremely seriously and is fulfilling statutory duties to ensure decent, safe and humane conditions. 

As you will be aware, the Home Office is required by law to provide asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute with accommodation, paid for by the taxpayer. 

Since March last year, the number of people within the asylum system has risen. This is due to the fact that the Government temporarily ceased ending asylum support for those whose claims have been granted or refused. This was necessary to help stop the spread of coronavirus and ensure they are able to follow social distancing guidelines. 

It has therefore been necessary for the Government to act quickly to source contingency accommodation to create additional capacity and ensure obligations are met in full.

As you may be aware, the Government provides safe, warm and secure accommodation with three nutritious meals served a day, all paid for by the taxpayer. I also understand that Napier has previously accommodated army personnel. The Home Office has worked extremely closely with Public Health England to minimise risks of coronavirus and this track record will be robustly defended in court. The initial hearing you refer to is one step in the legal process. It is important to consider that the Home Office has not lost or conceded the case. I will continue to follow developments very carefully.

After looking into this, I have been reassured that those accommodated at these sites have access to appropriate medical care and have access to the 24/7 Migrant Help helpline to raise any issues. 

I will continue to monitor the situation very closely. However, I welcome the action taken by the Government to ensure the UK continues to meet its obligations and commitments to the most vulnerable people. This is of course in the context of unprecedented domestic challenges caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.