300 Muslim immigrants at the Manchester Airport. Well, nothing could go wrong there…
by, Peter Henn | The Express – UK
City council bosses are embroiled in a war of words after Home Office contractor Serco placed more than 300 migrants into hotels, in what the authorities claim is on the sly.
Officials are now taking action after a “material” change to the hotel’s planning permission.
Currently, 271 asylum seekers are at the Britannia Hotel near Manchester Airport, and another 35 are in the branch in nearby leafy Didsbury.
But now Britannia, in agreement with Serco, want to take people out of Didsbury and into the airport.
Manchester has one of the highest numbers of asylum seekers in the UK, looking after a little under 1,000.
Paul Andrews, the council’s lead member for adult health and wellbeing, admitted his surprise the authority had not been told about the decision.
He said: “Manchester City Council has today been made aware that the Britannia Hotel located at the airport in Northenden have agreed for the Home Office sub-contractor Serco to increase the level of asylum seekers they accommodate there.
“We believe that this amounts to a material change of use, and as such we will be taking appropriate action with the Britannia hotel chain regards to planning restrictions.
“We have also made it clear to Serco that failing to notify the council in advance of this action having been taken is completely unacceptable.
“Manchester City Council has had no direct responsibility for providing accommodation and support to asylum seekers living within our communities since 2012.
“The responsibility lies with the Home Office and Serco, their sub-contractor for north west England.”
Jenni Halliday, Serco’s contract director for Compass, said: “Due to the continuing increase in the number of these vulnerable asylum seekers being placed in our care in the North West, over the past few months we have been using several hotels including this one, to accommodate them.”
“The availability of individual hotels changes, sometimes at very short notice and when that happens we work hard to make sure that we can make alternative arrangements to safely accommodate the asylum seekers and keep the local authorities informed.”