27 November 2023

Home Office to end hotel contract for lone asylum-seeking children, council says

27 November 2023

The Home Office is ending its contract with a hotel where unaccompanied asylum-seeking children went missing, a council leader has said.

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Bella Sankey said the Home Office will end its contract with a hotel in Hove to house unaccompanied youths on Thursday, November 30.

Ms Sankey posted on X: “The Home Office contract with a Hove hotel to accommodate unaccompanied children seeking asylum will end on Thursday.

“This is a major milestone for our council and for our city.

“Because Brighton and Hove Labour and Brighton and Hove City Council took action, this inhumane policy is ending.”

The move comes after the council launched legal action against the Government in June after the Home Office planned to reopen the hotel despite 50 children “still unaccounted for”.

Sussex Police confirmed 139 young people had gone missing from Hove since July 2021 and 90 children have been found.

On July 27, the High Court ruled the practice of housing lone child asylum seekers in hotels had been unlawful for more than 18 months.

Mr Justice Chamberlain said the practice is unlawful because the power to place the children in hotels “may be used on very short periods in true emergency situations”.

The Home Office maintains that the best place for unaccompanied children to be homed is within a local authority.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Due to the rise in dangerous small boats crossings, the Government has had no alternative but to urgently use hotels to accommodate unaccompanied asylum-seeking children while they await placements with local authorities.

“We are making every effort to end the use of expensive hotels which are costing the taxpayer £8.2 million a day, including opening ex-military sites and the Bibby Stockholm.”

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