Councils are to tell the Government they are ‘full’ and do not have any room to house any extra migrants while some are already at ‘breaking point’, it has been reported.
One of Rishi Sunak’s five pledges for this year was to stop boats full of asylum seekers from crossing the English Channel.
The Illegal Migration Act was described as a ‘vital step’ in stemming the flow when the bill was given Royal Assent in July.
Under the new law, the Government is to set an annual cap on how many asylum seekers it will take in consultation with local councils.
That consultation must start by October 20, and, with the deadline looming, councils are set to tell the Government they are already ‘full’, reported The Telegraph.
The Illegal Migration Act was described as a ‘vital step’ in stopping small boats from crossing the English Channel. Under the new law, the Government is to set an annual cap on how many asylum seekers it will take in consultation with local councils
One of Rishi Sunak’s five pledges for this year was to stop boats full of asylum seekers from crossing the English Channel
While a local government source said some are already at ‘breaking point’.
Concerns have been raised by the Local Government Association about councils having to pledge numbers or to propose a cap.
Councillot Shaun Davies, chair of the LGA, said ‘it might be difficult for councils to predict potential arrival numbers across both asylum and resettlement’.
He told The Telegraph: ‘Their local communities may also have differing views on and capacity to support new resettlement routes.’
He said there needs to be a joined-up approach with new programmes but they need to recognise the pressures on services and that councils receive enough funding.
Earlier this month, leader of Runnymede Borough Council Tom Gracey, in Surrey, and the area’s MP, Ben Spencer, both raised ‘serious concerns’ to house 300 asylum seekers in Chertsey, the BBC reported.
Mr Spencer said: ‘I have serious concerns about the impact this inappropriate proposal would have on Chertsey, a town of 5,000 residents, and the surrounding area, particularly given the pressure services are already under.
While Mr Gracey added: ‘Plans to place 300 people in one location will place an unmanageable burden on local services and our ability to provide the support these families may need.
‘The site suggested was also intended to provide affordable housing for local residents. It cannot be that plans to support asylum seekers mean local residents miss out.’
While the leader of Sandwell Council this week wrote an open letter to the immigration minister Robert Jenrick to complain about the ‘unfair’ number of asylum seekers it has.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has said Channel migrants will be moved back on board the Bibby Stockholm (pictured) as soon as ‘processes’ are complete – although she declined to say when that would be
Kerrie Carmichael wrote: ‘However, this has become increasingly difficult as a result of the current unfairness in the national asylum seeker dispersal system.
‘Sandwell has the third largest population of asylum seekers in the West Midlands. This means we continue to disproportionately shoulder the additional pressure on local resources at a time when doing so is more difficult with huge financial pressures on services resulting from the cost of living increases.’
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘The UK has a proud history of providing protection for those who need it and we remain committed to supporting the most vulnerable, including those fleeing persecution. Over 350 local authorities across every region of the UK have welcomed resettled refugees into their communities under our safe and legal routes.
‘It is important that we understand the capacity of the UK to support those arriving on our safe and legal routes ensuring that they can be accommodated and integrated effectively.
‘That is why we have committed to introduce a cap on the number of people brought to the UK through safe and legal routes each year. The cap will be based on the UK’s capacity and determined through consultation with local authorities.’
According to the latest Government figures for the end of June 2023, there were 134,046 asylum seekers awaiting a decision on their application.
In September this year alone, so far 3,895 migrants have crossed the Channel in small boats.
Speaking at the time of the Illegal Migration Act being passed into law, Mr Sunak said: ‘The public’s priorities are my priorities. When it comes to making people’s lives better, I am focused on action, not words.
‘We are getting on with the job and today passed new laws which will play an important part in our efforts to stop the boats, support businesses to grow and allow the public to access essential services in the face of disruption.’