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Asylum: Housing

Question for Home Office

UIN 130854, tabled on 16 December 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much her Department spent on the provision of accommodation for asylum seekers in (a) hotels and (b) other forms of accommodation for the financial year 2020-21; and how many asylum seekers have been so housed as a result of that provision.

Answered on

15 January 2021

We expect the highest standards from our providers and the accommodation provided must be safe, habitable, fit for purpose and is required to comply with the Decent Homes Standard, in addition to standards outlined in relevant national or local housing legislation.

Providers are expected to conduct regular checks across the accommodation estate with the Home Office having access to their systems. Throughout the pandemic the ability to inspect accommodation has faced some challenges; ensuring that we protect the safety of our staff and the people we support adhering to PHE guidance; whilst maintaining safe, habitable, fit for purpose accommodation.

We receive regular intel from calls to our AIRE (Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility) providers Migrant Help. Service Users can raise issues relating to accommodation through the Issue Reporting service provided by Migrant Help.

The Asylum Accommodation and Support Services contracts (AASC) have a robust performance management system, against which providers are expected to deliver. Where performance falls short of the required standard, failures are recorded and can result in the award of points and, ultimately, service credits being applied.

Providers’ performance is monitored closely by dedicated staff in each contract area, who are in daily contact with them. This is supplemented by a formal governance process which includes quarterly Strategic Review Management Boards and monthly Contract Management Groups. Service credits and subsequent improvement plans are discussed and monitored as part of this process.

The current global pandemic has presented us with significant challenges when it comes to the provision of asylum accommodation, including sourcing sufficient suitable accommodation to meet demand.

The use of hotels and wider government facilities are a short-term measure and we are working to move people to longer-term dispersal accommodation as soon as it becomes available.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of asylum seekers accommodated in each local authority area, which includes those in hotel and wider government facilities. These statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support.

The Home Office does not publish a breakdown of these statistics which disaggregates the type of accommodation being used to accommodate asylum seekers.

As described above, accommodation for supported asylum seekers is arranged by private sector providers through contractual arrangements with the Home Office. Details of these contracts can be found here https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search/Results

Accommodation costs are considered to be commercially confidential, therefore the Home Office does not published this information, however total expenditure on asylum is published in the Home Office Annual Report and Accounts, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/ho-annual-reports-and-accounts

The AASC providers receive payments for providing services consistent with those requirements.

Answered by

Home Office