Home » Confusion surrounds plan to house asylum seekers at hotel, says First Minister
Carmarthenshire National News Politics West Wales

Confusion surrounds plan to house asylum seekers at hotel, says First Minister

PLANS to accommodate asylum seekers at a hotel have caused significant confusion among local residents, according to Wales’ first minister, Mark Drakeford. He expressed concern over the handling of the situation at the Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, stating that confidence has been “badly damaged.” Drakeford called on the Home Office to be more transparent with the public regarding the plans.

The Home Office defended the necessity of the arrangement due to the increasing number of asylum seekers arriving in the country. They assured that measures were in place to ensure the safety of the local community.

On Monday evening, around 300 individuals gathered outside the hotel to participate in peaceful protests, both in support and opposition to the decision to house asylum seekers there.

During a press conference, Drakeford urged the UK government to be forthcoming with local public services and the community about the details of the plan. He emphasized the need to clarify the unfolding events in the coming days.

Drakeford criticized the Home Office for providing different information to different parties, failing to furnish sufficient details to Carmarthenshire council, and neglecting the interests of the nearly 100 hotel staff members who are now facing redundancy.

The decision to house asylum seekers at the hotel was questioned by Plaid Cymru MP Ben Lake, who engaged with Home Office officials on the matter. During an evidence session held by the Public Accounts Committee as part of an inquiry into the asylum system, Lake expressed concerns about the hotel without explicitly naming it or the local authority involved. He claimed that alternative locations had been proposed but not adequately explored.

In response, Simon Ridley, the Home Office’s second permanent secretary, stated that while they do consider local preferences, they cannot always accommodate them.

Drakeford reiterated the Welsh government’s desire to responsibly support legitimate asylum seekers in Wales. He criticized the Home Office for failing to learn from past experiences, such as the use of a military camp at Penally to house asylum seekers, which faced local opposition.

The Home Office emphasized its early engagement with councils and commitment to ensuring the safety of hotel residents and local communities. They clarified that staffing decisions were at the discretion of the hotelier and contractors.

A Home Office spokesperson stated, “We have been clear that the use of hotels to house asylum seekers is unacceptable – there are currently more than 51,000 asylum seekers in hotels costing the UK taxpayer £6m a day. The Home Office is committed to making every effort to reduce hotel use and limit the burden on the taxpayer.”

online casinos UK

Cover Image: Ryan Milsom/Herald