The majority of asylum seekers are being housed in disadvantaged local authority areas, while dozens of councils – including wealthy parts of the South East – support none, analysis reveals. 24 local authorities – including Aylesbury Vale, Cambridgeshire, South Northamptonshire, Hart, Fenland, Daventry, Chelmsford and Gosport – all of which have gross household incomes above the national average – are housing no vulnerable migrants.
People in the process of seeking asylum and refugees who have been brought to the UK for protection under the vulnerable persons resettlement scheme are entitled to housing and support. In both cases local authorities volunteer to participate in dispersal arrangements. The local authorities housing the most asylum seekers and refugees are Glasgow City, Liverpool and Birmingham – with 8,196 people between them – all of which fall considerably below the UK’s gross disposable household income per head, the analysis shows.
Figures show 32,396 of the 63,512 people who are seeking asylum or have been brought to Britain for resettlement are accommodated by just 6 per cent of local councils, all of which have below average household income. Campaigners warn that it has led to a situation whereby vulnerable migrants are forced into destitution as cities such as Glasgow, which is home to 4,469 asylum seekers and resettled refugees, buckle under the pressure of providing housing and support.
Paul Sweeney, MP for Glasgow City, said that while the city had been a “success story” in welcoming asylum seekers and refugees, mounting pressures in recent years mean the authorities were questioning whether they could continue to take part in the dispersal scheme.
“We’re seeing problems around no recourse to public funds, and the punitive policies of withdrawing accommodation from asylum seekers who are still going through the process, which can cause destitution,” he told The Independent.That’s putting a lot of pressure on charitable organisations in the city and causing a lot of distress, but the Home Office doesn’t seem to be willing to support, and that’s raised questions over whether Glasgow will continue to participate in this dispersal system.” Sweeney highlighted a ”major issue“ in that the “poorest communities are doing the most to help these people”, adding: “They’re often communities that have the least resilience, in terms of providing economic capital to help.