Sunday, August 02, 2020

Farage and his Lies

Nigel Farage, anti-immigration demagogue and scare-monger, is at it again, inciting hatred against those the government is housing in hotels. 

Farage made a video with a blend of muddled figures and statistics asserting that the  4-Star Bromsgrove Hotel & Spa in Worcestershire is populated by illegal immigrants.  It is, like a number of hotels across the country, being used to temporarily house asylum seekers – according to the government and the site’s operators, Serco. Asylum seekers are those attempting to legitimately and legally make a claim to sanctuary in the UK – for example to escape persecution. Temporary accommodation has long been an element of the asylum application process, and makes up part of the UK’s international obligations to protect those seeking sanctuary. Those applying for asylum are unable to work while they are processed by the Home Office they are housed by the taxpayer until the claim is either approved or rejected.

Farage claims during the video. “We are now housing 48,000 people like this at a cost, an estimated cost, over the next ten years of £4bn.”

Farage’s assertion does not appear to provide necessary context to the 48,000 figure. As of March 2020, the population of those housed in hotels actually averages out at a figure closer to 1,000. Between September 2019 and February 2020, the length of time people stayed in such premises averaged out at 26 days, at which point they were moved to long term accommodation for the duration of their asylum application.

The estimated cost of outsourced asylum contracts comes to a value of £4bn over the next ten years – at £400m per year the figure makes up roughly 3.7 per cent of the Home Office’s current annual budget.

The provision of housing, as well as healthcare and either free meals or £35.39 a week on a prepaid card for food, clothing and toiletries, makes up part of the nation’s obligation to ensure those seeking asylum are given proper care while their applications are processed.

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