(MENAFN) The British government has announced plans to house asylum seekers and migrants in former military barracks, barges, and ships in an effort to reduce the costs of temporary hotel accommodation. The current estimated cost of accommodating 51,000 migrants in 395 hotels is over pound6 million (USD7.4 million) per day.
However, opposition parties have condemned the plan, arguing that it will not solve the immigration issue and will not reduce the use of hotels or save money by housing migrants in former military sites. The proposals were presented by Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick during a parliamentary session on Wednesday. Jenrick expressed concern over the "eye-watering pound2.3 billion a year bill" for housing individuals while their claims are being processed. He emphasized that accommodation for migrants should only meet their essential living needs to prevent the United Kingdom from becoming a "magnet" for those seeking better economic prospects.
Jenrick confirmed reports that three former military sites will be used to hold migrants and asylum seekers in "barracks" and "Portakabins." However, the plan has been criticized by the main opposition Labour Party's Yvette Cooper, who serves as the shadow home secretary. Cooper argued that the plan is an "admission of failure" by the government and that the situation is worsening under the conservative party's administration. She called out the government's previous claim that they would stop using hotels, but instead, the use of hotels has increased.
Regarding the possibility of housing migrants in ships off the coast, Jenrick stated that the use of "vessels" is being considered, as it has been implemented in Scotland and the Netherlands. The decision to house migrants in former military sites and ships has been met with criticism from human rights groups and charities, who have expressed concern over the living conditions and the impact on the mental health of those seeking refuge in the United Kingdom. The plan has also been criticized for its potential to create a hostile environment for asylum seekers and migrants, further exacerbating the challenges they already face.
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