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13th Dec 2022

Rishi Sunak announces plans to house asylum seekers in disused holiday parks and former student halls

Charlie Herbert

Rishi Sunak asylum plans

Rishi Sunak has vowed to clear the asylum backlog by the end of next year

Some asylum seekers will be housed in disused holiday parks and former student halls in attempts to clear the asylum backlog, Rishi Sunak announced today.

The Prime Minister said “enough is enough” as he unveiled a raft of new measures to curb Channel crossings and set the target of ‘abolishing’ a backlog of asylum claims by the end of 2023.

His plans also included fast-tracking the removal of Albanian migrants with a new “dedicated unit” of 400 staff to speed up cases.

The PM claimed that over the coming months “thousands of Albanians will be returned home and we will keep going with weekly flights until all the Albanians in our backlog have been removed”.

Under a new agreement with the country, Sunak said UK Border Force officials will be embedded at Tirana airport.

This comes after migration minister Robert Jenrick suggested that Albanians should not be allowed to claim asylum in the UK.

The PM also said he will soon bring forward alternative accomodation for 10,000 asylum seekers in general, including “disused holiday parks, former student halls and surplus military sites”, the Mirror reports.

“Our aim is to add thousands of places through this type of accommodation in the coming months – at half the cost of hotels,” he said.

Home Office figures from September showed there were more than 143,000 asylum seekers waiting for a decision on their claims, while nearly 100,000 had been waiting more than six months.

Sunak told the Commons “unless we act now and decisively, this will only get worse” as he announced plans to establish a new “small boats operational command” dedicated to tackling the journeys to the UK.

He also said that legislation will be introduced early next year to “”make unambiguously clear that if you enter the UK illegally you should not be able to remain here.”

But the leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer accused the Tories of simply offering “gimmicks” to take Channel crossings and the asylum backlog.

The Labour leader said the content of the Prime Minister’s statement on Channel crossings has been heard before.

He told the house: “Time and time again this Government has not provided serious solutions. The Prime Minister sat around the Cabinet table the whole time.

“Where there should have been solutions, we’ve had unworkable gimmicks.

“As I listened to that statement – all of that has been said almost word for word before.”

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