Colchester Council leader calls on government to rethink Afghan refugee eviction plan

PUBLISHED: 22 June 2023

The Leader of Colchester City Council, Cllr David King, has called on the Government to abandon its plan to evict Afghan refugees from hotels.

In a letter sent to the Minister of State for Refugees, The Rt Hon Johnny Mercer MP, Cllr King expressed dismay at the plans to move the refugees out of hotels and into homes, given that few were available and very little notice given.

The Home Office has said Afghans living in ‘temporary bridging accommodation’ under the UK’s two resettlement schemes would be given additional support to find settled accommodation after months in hotels, but those who fail to take up the offer ahead of the 4 August deadline will be asked to vacate their hotel.

In his letter, Cllr King urged the minister to “immediately extend the hotel stays of Afghan refugees” to avoid more than 200 people being made homeless locally, adding “that would be a great wrong, given the promises we made as a nation, and terrible PR.”

He also called on the Home Office to urgently review its plans to double asylum capacity at one local bridging hotel from 100 to 200, where there were already inadequate facilities, many health and psychological needs and limited support.

Cllr King said: “The Government did the right thing to offer sanctuary to those who had helped British Forces in Afghanistan and who had to flee for their lives when the Taliban took over.

“I know from talking with some of the refugees that they are very grateful to the UK but hugely worried that they now face being made homeless in a few weeks, just as they are beginning to settle.

“We will do all we can to avoid this, but appeal for Government help and sufficient time to help smooth the transition.”

Page last reviewed: 22 June 2023


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