Welsh ‘completely ignored’ over luxury hotel for asylum seekers | United Kingdom | New
Welsh ministers say they were “completely ignored” when the Home Office decided to place asylum seekers in a luxury hotel in Snowdonia.
Holidaymakers have had their reservations canceled and weddings even called off at the Hilton Garden Inn near Conwy, North Wales. The local council says the hotel is ‘totally unsuitable’ for such use due to its remote rural location.
Up to 200 asylum seekers are expected to be accommodated in a hotel near a village of just 500 people with no medical center or train station.
The Home Office admitted that “the use of hotels to house asylum seekers is unacceptable”, but said the system was currently under “incredible pressure”.
In the Senedd (Welsh Parliament) yesterday, Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd, said the Welsh Government had ‘no prior knowledge’ of the decision.
She said the administration had written to the Home Office “as a matter of urgency” expressing its concerns “very, very strongly.”
But she also called for calm in a debate that threatens to erupt if inappropriate language is used, North Wales Live reports.
“I would like to appeal to everyone (…) that it is really best to avoid the use of inflammatory language when we deal with this issue,” the politician told a plenary meeting.
“I definitely saw words I didn’t want to see on this, and words have consequences. I think it’s really important that we all deal with this issue with sensitivity and care.
Clwyd West MS Darren Millar has asked the minister for an urgent statement on a matter which ‘has caused a great deal of concern within the community’.
He said: “People want to know what is going to be done to make sure they don’t also have additional burdens imposed on them as a result of this decision, which seems to have been imposed on all of us from above. “
Ms Griffiths, who stood in for Prime Minister Mark Drakeford after he tested positive for COVID-19, stressed that Westminster was responsible for UK immigration policy and delivery, not Cardiff. Working with the UK government on such issues was “very difficult” while the Welsh government is “completely ignored”, she said.
“They now have a system that I think is broken,” the minister added. “They really need to fix this as soon as possible, because we see the human consequences of this broken system, and I don’t think it’s doing anyone any good.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The number of people arriving in the UK in need of accommodation has reached record levels and has put our asylum system under incredible pressure.
“The use of hotels to accommodate asylum seekers is unacceptable – there are currently over 37,000 asylum seekers in hotels costing the UK taxpayer £5.6 million a day. The use hotels is a short term solution and we are working hard with local authorities to find suitable accommodation.”
Speaking on Sunday, Home Secretary Suella Braverman acknowledged that “Britons are fed up” with the migrant crisis.
She added: ‘It is not fair that Britons are being billed for £2billion every year because the asylum system has been broken by an unprecedented wave of illegal immigration.