Asylum seeker shares images of food and ‘catastrophic’ conditions in hotel accommodation
One asylum seeker described the food and conditions at a Liverpool hotel as “abysmal”.
The man, who fled the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, shared footage of a meal given to him, which included a bruised apple, unidentifiable meat and portions of pasta.
He also claimed that asylum seekers had been accommodated in cold, leaky and overcrowded rooms in two hotels, Liverpool’s ECHO reports.
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Video shows a water leak in the building, with Serco, the company hired by the Interior Ministry to provide accommodation for asylum seekers, saying the leak followed a recent downpour and was “dealt with immediately “.
Serco also said staff have “good relations” with asylum seekers in the accommodation.
A spokesperson for the company said the accommodation was in “very good condition” and that “the rooms and the property are clean and in good repair”.
But the asylum seeker told ECHO: “It’s cold in the rooms, very cold – and I can’t turn on the heaters. When I try, the electricity goes out. “
Speaking of the food served, he added: “They [asylum seekers] must eat it because they are hungry, but sometimes they throw out some of it.
“And then they don’t have enough money to buy food, so you have to be patient and wait for the next meal.”
The asylum seeker, who learned English while studying for a degree at a UK university, says many others do not speak English, which has kept them from reporting problems.
A spokesperson for Serco said hotel staff were “confident and knowledgeable and had good relations with asylum seekers”.
They added: “The accommodation is in very good condition. The rooms and the property are clean and in good repair.
“One of our senior managers regularly visits both hotels to ensure quality standards and has regular contact with supervisors. None of the issues raised with you have been observed or reported.
“There have been no incidents or complaints in the past month about food etc. or incidents related to food issues.”
Although Serco said he had not received any recent complaints, the man said he called, emailed and tweeted his concerns.
He said: “They [Serco] don’t answer at all. No one is listening. “
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham complained earlier this year that the government was “flouting” local councils by accommodating asylum seekers in hotels on “minimum notice”.
Several boroughs in Greater Manchester have been asked to take in “disproportionate” numbers of refugees at the last minute, Mr Burnham said.
The asylum seekers are being accommodated in a hotel in the district of Wigan deemed unsuitable by local leaders, who say the situation has “created huge concerns”.
In Salford, outbreaks of Covid-19 and tuberculosis were reported in hotels used to house refugees and asylum seekers, while a far-right group also gained access to a hotel and residents ” harassed ”.
Responding to complaints from hotels in Liverpool, a spokesperson for the Home Office said: ‘The welfare of asylum seekers is taken very seriously and all necessary measures are taken to protect those we are in charge. All of our hotels must provide up-to-date health and safety reports prior to being booked.
“If an asylum seeker has problems with their accommodation, they can contact Migrant Help, which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide assistance.
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