Call for calm at public meeting over asylum seekers in Skegness

A call for calm has been made by the Mayor of Skegness ahead of a public meeting regarding concerns about the rise in numbers of asylum seekers in local hotels.

A public meeting with MP Matt Warman is taking place at the Storehouse in Skegness.
A public meeting with MP Matt Warman is taking place at the Storehouse in Skegness.

Local Matt Warman will be hosting the meeting at the Storehouse in Skegness.tomorrow (Friday).

Yesterday Mr Warman put pressure on the immigration minister Robert Jenriick to get asylum seekers out of hotels and into more suitable accommodation.

Mr Jennick said: “We continue to seek larger accommodation sites that a decent but not luxurious but we want to make sure that those in our care are supported appropriately but that the UK is a less attactive destination.”

MP for Boston and Skegness Matt Warman

Mr Warman said he hoped he would be able to answer “as many questions as possible and be as honest as possible” at the public meeting: He said: “I can’t say I can offer a specific timetable but I have said before that it is not an acceptable situation.”

Current concerns about asylum seekers in Skegness arose when the numbers of hotels being used grew from three to five over the space of a weekend.

This was due to the Government seeking an urgent solution to the issue of housing growing numbers at the troubled asylum processing site at Manston in Kent more quickly.

The site has now been cleared and no further hotels have been acquired.

However, local concerns remains high.

In the latest statement from the the Home Office, a spokesperson said there are currently around 40,000 asylum seekers in hotels costing the UK taxpayer £5.6 million a day.

Officials told our newspaper using hotels was a “short-term solution to the global migration crisis” and they were working hard to find appropriate dispersed accommodation for migrants, asylum seekers and Afghan refugees as soon as possible.

Tempers boiled when members of the public, angry that two more hotels in the resort had agreed deals with the Home Office, felt they were not being listened to at last Wednesday night’s Skegness Town Council meeting.

According to the Mayor Coun Tony Tye, the outcry surrounded the date of the original public meeting on November 30 which, because it was at the time two weeks away, people mistook as the council not taking their concerns seriously.

In spite of an appeal to ‘please quieten down’, Coun Tony Tye said he was forced to leave the meeting.

"I left the meeting in the hope of bringing some order to the situation and that worked as half the members of public in the gallery came with me and I was able to talk to them,” he said.

"I tried to explain that we, as a town council, have no control over asylum seekers coming to the resort but what we can do is ask the Government on their behalf what is going on and that is what we intend to do at the public meeting.

”People could not understand that there is protocol involved when organising council meetings – you have to give seven days notice of them and the 30th was the earliest date we could accommodate. I couldn’t call the meeting any earlier.”

Friday’s public meeting at the Storehouse on North Parade in Skegness is due to start at 5.30pm.

Mr Warman said: “I know the strength of feeling that the use of five hotels in Skegness to house asylum seekers has caused and I share the frustration that was expressed recently.

"I therefore asked the Town Council to move its proposed meeting on this subject from the 30th November to a more appropriate venue at an earlier date, so that I can answer your questions and say what the local councils and other agencies are doing to make the best of this challenging situation.

"I’m grateful to the Mayor, Coun Tye, for agreeing to this change and to Coun Carl Macey for helping to organise it.”