Councillor slams Government’s ‘Guantanamo-on-Ouse’ plans

Lib Dem councillors have hit out at the plans to convert a former North Yorkshire RAF base into an asylum seeker processing centre.key_refugeess.png

Under new plans unveiled by the Government earlier last week, RAF Linton-on-Ouse will be used as an asylum seeker accommodation and processing centre in part of wider plans that could also see asylum seekers being flown 5000 miles to Rwanda.


The new centre has been called ‘a cross between a hostel and a low security prison’ by regional refugee charities.


York’s recent experience and challenges faced with housing asylum seekers in a remote hotel have been outlined in a new report brought as part of an update to the rehousing of Ukrainian refugees in the city.



Councillor Darryl Smalley, Lib Dem Executive Member for Communities at City of York Council, commented:


“It has been shown time and time again that it is best for vulnerable asylum seekers to live within our communities. York’s recent experience of the Home Office using of a local hotel to house asylum seekers is the clearest evidence that we need a better, more integrated and humane approach.


“The Government’s Guantanamo-on-Ouse plan is sadly just a small part of the inhumane and dysfunctional plan. It’s a model which has been shown to be expensive for the taxpayer and is very damaging for the mental health of asylum seekers.


“It’s shocking to see the stark difference between Minister’s sentiments when it comes to the suffering of those fleeing Ukraine compared with those asylum seekers desperate enough to make the dangerous journey across the Channel. It is only the accident of birth which separates us from being in the shoes of these desperate people.


“Government policy is now seemingly to make the seeking of asylum in the United Kingdom as difficult and unpleasant as possible, regardless of the cost. This is an ill-thought out, cruel and morally bankrupt ploy to reduce our obligations to the most desperate people.”


The damming report featuring lessons-learned from hosting asylum seekers in a hotel in York can be found here.


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