Asylum seekers staying in Wigan hotel

Outside the Britannia Hotel, Standish
Outside the Britannia Hotel, Standish

A WIGAN hotel is housing immigrants who have managed to flee the chaotic scenes at Calais.

Several asylum seekers are currently being put up at Standish’s Britannia Hotel after escaping their own countries in search of a better life.

Exterior of Britannia Hotel, Almond Brook Road, Standish

Exterior of Britannia Hotel, Almond Brook Road, Standish

They were placed there by Serco, which operates the contract to house asylum seekers requiring accommodation in the North West, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as a short-term measure until more permanent places become available elsewhere in the UK.

But Serco and the Home Office insist this does not result in any additional cost to the taxpayer.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Decisions on the use of hotel accommodation, including which premises are used, are made by individual contractors. We have made clear to our providers that the use of hotels is only ever acceptable as a short-term contingency measure. We are taking steps with providers to ensure that this is the case.”

Jenni Halliday, Serco’s contract director for the Compass project to house asylum seekers, said: “We are currently using budget hotels on a short-term basis to house around 100 asylum seekers until we can find alternative accommodation for them.

We are currently using budget hotels on a short-term basis to house around 100 asylum seekers until we can find alternative accommodation for them.

Jenni Halliday

“We move them out of the hotels into other accommodation as quickly as possible. The use of hotels does not cost the taxpayer anything extra.

“We ensure that the asylum seekers always have full access to healthcare services during this time.

“Our priority is at all times to make sure that they are safe and secure and are treated with dignity and respect.”

Local UKIP MEP Paul Nuttall described it is “an insult” to hard working British taxpayers that illegal immigrants are being housed in a Wigan hotel.

“The government is blatantly still failing to get a grip of the migrant situation at Calais and as the six dedicated immigration centres are full it has resulted in hotels’ being used.

“This may be a temporary measure but it is plainly wrong. Much more stringent efforts must be made to keep illegal immigrants from our shores, such as robust fencing and soldiers.

“And those who succeed in making their way here should not be welcomed with open arms and certainly not put up in hotels, such as the Britannia Hotel in Wigan, leading other visitors to describe it as ‘another Sangatte’.

“We are too soft and there must be a hardening of the government’s stance to such immigrants,” said Mr Nuttall, UKIP deputy leader.