The Guardian has published an article based on Home Office and Office of National Statistics end of year 2016 data about the uneven geographical distribution of asylum seekers [online 9 April 2017]. The data shows most asylum seekers are put in the poorest parts of Britain.
“At the end of 2016 there were 39,389 asylum seekers in the country receiving some support from the government. The north-west houses 9,491 asylum seekers, 16 times the number accommodated by local authorities in the south-east (580), despite the south-east having a larger population than the north-west by 1.7 million people.”
“Ten local authorities are responsible for supporting more than one third of all asylum seekers in the UK (35.5%). Six of these – Manchester, Bolton, Rochdale, Nottingham, Leicester and Swansea – have a median annual income that places them in the poorest 25% of the country.” [The Guardian online 9 April 2017]
The local authority taking the largest number of asylum seekers is Glasgow (well over 3,000 – at least twice that of any other authority in the top ten).
Yvette Cooper, Labour MP and chair of the home affairs select committee, is quoted as saying: “…the problems stemmed from a change of policy in 2012 by the Conservatives, which saw the contracts for housing asylum seekers privatised and given to G4S, Serco and Clearsprings. She said these contracts, and the reduced money they were given to execute them, inevitably meant that companies sought to procure cheap housing in poor parts of the country.” [The Guardian online 9 April 2017]
The article goes on to contrast this with how asylum seekers are dispersed elsewhere in Europe, using Germany as an example.
“Germany operates a scrupulously fair system based on the population size and wealth of each region. The only snag is that it takes no account of area, so Berlin and Hamburg, the smallest regions by area, scramble for space…” [The Guardian online 9 April 2017]
- UK asylum seekers’ housing: The Guardian 31st January 2017
- The Guardian has a section of its website devoted to immigration and asylum issues: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/immigration
- Newcastle is a City of Sanctuary, see Seeking Asylum page.