Image shows black and white photo of Home Office sign, with the words: 22 London councils condemn Home Office treatment of asylum seekers

Published: Monday, 13th March 2023

22 London councils in London condemn Home Office treatment of asylum seekers.

A group of London councils have written to Suella Braverman to condemn the treatment of asylum seekers living in hotels across the Capital and the UK.

Following the removal of over 100 people from a hotel in Greenwich to Dunstable, Bedfordshire (more than 50 miles away), the letter urges the Government to take immediate action to prevent further suffering.

It sets out four key areas of improvement of the treatment of asylum seekers in hotels, including stopping the removal of people at only hours’ notice, improved communication and transparency with local authorities, ensuring basic needs are met including food and healthcare provision, and finding a permanent housing solution for people stuck in hotels.

The letter, led by the Royal Borough of Greenwich, has been co-signed by the London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham and Hammersmith and Fulham, and Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth and Westminster City Councils.

Councillor Anthony Okereke, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich said: “It is appalling that people who have spent months and sometimes years rebuilding their lives, studying, volunteering and establishing community links, are now being removed and placed miles away from their new homes against their wishes.”

Cllr Denise Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Services, and lead signatory, said: “The removal of asylum seekers goes completely against our principles as a borough that welcomes refugees and migrants. That’s why we have been trying to meet and work with the Home Office to find an alternative solution. 

“Many people who have been moved or are waiting to be moved have told us they are incredibly frightened. While we appreciate that the Home Office is discharging its duty to provide accommodation to those seeking asylum, there must be a better way of doing it than this. 

“We remain steadfast in our condemnation of the removal of people against their will and look forward to a timely response from the Home Office.”

Local authorities have no control over the management or running of hotels housing asylum seekers – this is under the complete jurisdiction of the Home Office and its contractors.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich, like other signatories to this letter, has written to the Home Office on numerous occasions to raise significant issues over the treatment and welfare of asylum seekers, but has received minimal response.

Read our letter

List of signees (28 total):

Cllr Anthony Okereke, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich

Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Services, Royal Borough of Greenwich

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

Cllr Barry Rawlings, Leader of Barnet Council

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council

Cllr Nadia Shah, Cabinet Member for Voluntary Sector, Equalities and Cohesion, Camden Council

Cllr Peter Mason, Leader of Ealing Council

Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Leader of Enfield Council,

Phillip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney

Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills and HR, Hackney Council

Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham    

Cllr Ben Coleman, Deputy Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

Cllr Peray Ahmet, Leader of Haringey Council

Cllr Lucia das Neves, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Well-being, Haringey Council

Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, Leader of Hounslow Council

Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Leader of Islington Council

Cllr Marcia Cameron, Cabinet Member for Healthier Communities (Job share), London Borough of Lambeth

Cllr Jim Dickson, Cabinet Member for Healthier Communities (Job share), London Borough of Lambeth

Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham

Cllr Juliet Campbell, Cabinet Member for Communities, Refugees and Wellbeing, Lewisham Council

Cllr Ross Garrod, Leader of Merton Council

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz OBE, Newham Council

Cllr Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge Council

Cllr Jasmine Ali, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Young People, Education and Refugees, Southwark Council

Lutfur Rahman, Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets

Cllr Grace Williams, Leader of Waltham Forest Council

Cllr Simon Hogg, Leader of Wandsworth Council

Cllr Adam Hug, Leader of Westminster Council