Published: Thursday, 9th February 2023

The Royal Borough of Greenwich is growing increasingly concerned about the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers living in hotels, following the latest forced removal of 100 people in the borough.

The Council has written to the Home Office on numerous occasions to raise significant issues over the treatment and welfare of refugees but has received no response. 

Those who have sought sanctuary in the UK should be able to live safely, healthily and with dignity while awaiting the decision on their asylum claim. Currently, the system is failing on all three counts.  

We are calling on the Government to address fundamental gaps in support to prevent further, unnecessary suffering, find long-term and suitable accommodation for those living in hotels, as well as ending the forced removal of refugees with only hours' notice. 

Cllr Anthony Okereke, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said: 

“The recent actions of the Home Office forcibly removing refugees living in our borough is deplorable. By the time we were notified, the removal of people was already underway. This raises significant concerns over the way the Home Office works with local authorities to ensure the safety and wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers in our borough and beyond. 

“No one should be worrying about how they will survive the next month, with the added fear of being displaced and uprooted from an area they have made their home, without their consent or considering their needs.”  

Cllr Denise Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Services, said: 

“It is disgraceful that people who have made their lives in the borough, after already spending 18 months in wholly unsuitable and unacceptable accommodation, are now being forcibly removed to places where they have no connection. 

“It is a basic human right to be able to access permanent and safe housing. The government must ensure people fleeing unimaginable horrors receive the right help. Slow progress on providing permanent, adequate accommodation continues to leave hundreds in uncertainty, living in overcrowded, poorly managed and unsafe environments. We are calling for commitment from the government to find suitable long-term accommodation, so those fleeing war and danger can start to rebuild their lives.”