Labour has slammed cash-strapped Scarborough council’s rejection of Home Office plans to house illegal immigrants in the North Yorkshire town where more than 2,000 people are on the housing waiting list.
Conservative-run Scarborough Borough Council voted against taking up the government’s request to become an “asylum seeker dispersal area”, a proposal which would have seen migrants sent to live in the town while their applications to stay in the UK were processed.
But the decision was slammed by Labour group deputy leader Tony Randerson, who said “Yorkshire folk are meant to be humanitarian aren’t we? We should be rolling out the welcome mat for these people.
“I was in Beirut in the 60s and saw the horrors people there were trying to get away from,” he added, according to the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporter Service.
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A cabinet report on the request, which points out the government has the power to impose the scheme on Scarborough against councillors’ wishes, warned of its potential to exacerbate issues with “destitution and rough sleeping in the Borough”.
“The Council is already under significant pressure in relation to homelessness,” states the council document, which noted that “numbers of homeless households are growing as is the number of homeless households placed in temporary accommodation”.
Scarborough health and housing boss Bill Chatt told councillors, “We don’t have the money, the staff or the housing stock to do this,” noting there were more than 2,000 people on the housing waiting list in the town, to which five families were imported from Syria by the government last year.
“My concern is with those who don’t achieve asylum who will end up on the streets with nothing,” he said. “It’s alright being a humanitarian but I’m a realist. Our housing stock is not up to it.
“If that makes me a bad man, then I’m a very bad man,” the independent councillor added.
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A Home Office statement said the UK had a “proud history” of granting asylum to those who needed protection, adding that the ministry “maintains an active partnership with local authorities across the UK to plan for the most appropriate dispersal of asylum seekers”.
Under the Conservative government, a number of programmes have seen third world migrants sent to live in every corner of Britain, including some of the most rural areas.
Despite care services in Perth and Kinross reportedly “under significant pressure to meet the demands from [its] existing population”, the Scottish authority was last month told to expect a batch of “unaccompanied asylum seeking children”, most of whom are male, east African, and aged between 16 and 18.
According to The Courier, the “growing population of ethnic minorities” in the sparsely populated council area bordering the Scottish Highlands was boosted by several Syrian families flown in as part of the government’s refugee resettlement scheme.
As a result, it reported the region is receiving “public education and understanding around different communities and cultures” from Perth and Kinross Community of Sanctuary, a new initiative with close links to Perth Against Racism — a group set up to oppose sceptics of mass immigration and which claims U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to secure the border constitute a “crime against humanity”.