To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when her Department first discussed with the Ministry of Defence the housing of asylum seekers in military barracks or other accommodation.
2 October 2020
The Home Office has a statutory obligation to provide support and accommodation to destitute asylum seekers.
As a result of Covid-19, movement of service users out of accommodation was temporarily paused. This combined with the continued large numbers of arrivals in small boats from France has put considerable strain on the accommodation system. As part of the emergency response to this, the Home Office has worked with other government departments to identify alternative accommodation for asylum seekers as a temporary measure.
The Ministry of Defence and Home Office entered into discussions from mid-August regarding the possibility of the Ministry of Defence assisting in identifying accommodation options for asylum seekers.
The Ministry of Defence responded with an offer to review their estate with a view to being able to loan suitable and available sites to the Home Office for up to 12 months. The Defence Secretary confirmed that the two sites at Penally and Napier were indeed able to be offered to the HO on 12 September.