On the 16th of Juiy 2015 I had the rare chance of putting an
Oral question to the Prime Minister:
Cardiff has 600, Newport has 400, Rochdale has 700—yet the constituencies of the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Home Secretary have a grand total of only three. Is this a fair and efficient way to locate asylum seekers?
The Prime Minister:
I believe we are operating the dispersal system in the same way it was operated for many years under the previous Labour Government, but I will look very carefully at the points the hon. Gentleman makes.
Little came of the PM's inquiries-just two letters that evaded the issue. I am grateful to Keith Vaz for pursuing my questions and digging out the unfair details in a new Home Affairs report (details below).
Newport has coped magnificently in providing hospitality and assimilating a very large number of asylum seekers. We have done our share. But there have been strains on our NHS and education services. The new immigrants from Syria will be selected on the severity of their problems, including their health problems. Many could have a lifelong dependancy on the NHS. There is no guarantee that local services will be helped to cope in the long term. The Prime Minister should shoulder his responsibilities and ensure that asylum seekers are fairly distributed. It would improve his knowledge of the problems and be a better deal for the migrants. The only real solution is to work towards building peaces in these countries at war.
From the Western Mail 3rd March 2016
Cardiff, Newport and Swansea are all in the top 10 for asylum seekers – while areas represented by David Cameron and George Osborne have none
Wales’ three major cities have some of the highest concentrations of asylum seekers in the UK – while areas represented by David Cameron and George Osborne have none.
Cardiff , Swansea and Newport are all among the 10 UK councils that have taken in the most refugees relative to their size.
In contrast Mr Cameron’s Witney constituency comes under West Oxfordshire District Council, which had no supported asylum seekers at all at the end of 2015.
George Osborne’s Tatton seat is in the Cheshire East District which had no asylum seekers on December 31 2015 and Home Secretary Theresa May’s Maidenhead seat is in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, which had three supported asylum seekers at the end of 2015.
The figures led Newport West MP Paul Flynn to accuse the Prime Minister and his Cabinet of “avoiding their responsibilities”.
He said: “Cameron’s response to the crisis has been heartless. A fresh policy is needed which will expand the number of dispersal areas and fairly distribute asylum seekers throughout the country.”
The figures show Cardiff has the fourth highest concentration of migrants, with a ratio of one asylum seeker for every 244 people in the population.
Swansea comes seventh, with an asylum seeker for every 286 people, while Newport is ninth, with a ratio of 1:316.
Top of the table is Middlesbrough (1:152), followed by Glasgow (1:194) and Rochdale (1:204).
Others in the top 10 are Stockton-on-Tees (1:283), Bolton (1:271), Liverpool (1:304) and Oldham (1:335).
The figures, released by the Home Office, show that at the end of 2015 there were a total of 2,856 supported asylum seekers in Wales: 1,450 in Cardiff, 843 in Swansea, 464 in Newport and 90 in Wrexham .
None of the other 18 local authority areas in Wales had any asylum seekers.
Read more: More than 1,000 asylum seekers live in Cardiff and the number in Wales increased by 20% in the year to June
PA ArchivePaul Flynn MP
In a written response to Mr Flynn following the publication of earlier statistics showing that many Cabinet Ministers including himself had no asylum seekers at all in their constituencies, Mr Cameron said the current system of dispersing asylum seekers was brought in by the last Labour government.
Under it they are sent to different parts of the UK once their application has been processed and approved.
The Prime Minister told Mr Flynn: “Asylum seekers are housed where there is available and appropriate accommodation based on voluntary agreements between Government and participating local authorities.
“The legislation was introduced to relieve the pressures on local authorities in the South East of England which had previously shouldered a disproportionate number of asylum seekers given their proximity to the main ports of entry.”
From the Manchester Evening News
It’s an uncomfortable question. Some fear raising it – or voicing the strength of their answer too publicly – for fear of being branded a racist.
Parts of the left would deny it even needs discussing at all.
But it does have to be asked: can the region cope with the sheer number of asylum seekers being placed in its poorest areas?
Increasingly residents and local politicians say no. One in four of England’s asylum seekers - and one of five of those in the UK - are now in Greater Manchester, mostly in areas still clawing their way out of recession. They are startling figures.
Home Office statistics from November show the region now has more asylum seekers than Wales and Scotland put together. At around 1,000, Rochdale has more than the whole of the south east of England. Bolton isn’t far behind.
Or to put it another way, Greater Manchester is accommodating 5,586 asylum seekers while the Prime Minister and Home Secretary’s local councils – between them – have NONE.