LONDON: Asylum seekers in Britain staying in hotels have been asked by the UK Home Office to pay for non-essential toiletries themselves, a letter has revealed.
People fleeing the Taliban, some of whom worked for the military or British authorities, say the UK government’s latest move shows it “no longer cares” about them.
The Home Office has been revealed to be spending £4.7m ($6.36m) a day to house asylum seekers in hotels and support them, or around £127 per person.
Faiz Mohammad Seddeqi, 30, a former British embassy guard in Kabul, is one of those evacuees from Afghanistan and has been staying at one of the hotels for almost six months.
He was evacuated with his wife and son during the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan last August.
“When we see this kind of reaction and decision from the Home Office it means ‘from now on we don’t care about you and we don’t care about you – you have to handle everything on your own “”, did he declare.
He said the Watford hotel where he and his family are staying is “not very clean” and the food they are given is “not good”.
The letter he received from the Afghanistan Resettlement Arrivals Project to the Ministry of Interior reads: “So far, in addition to your Universal Credit payments and accommodation and meals provided at the relay hotels, we also provided additional items.
“I am writing to let you know that beginning February 11, we will no longer be providing these additional items and you will need to purchase them yourself using your Universal Credit payments.”
According to the letter, asylum seekers will still receive “main meals”, including “baby food and baby milk”, but will no longer receive “free snacks, toiletries (except basic toiletries) or over-the-counter medications”.
The letter added: ‘You will have to pay your own transport or taxi costs to get to the appointments’, referring to the Home Office’s desire for those resettled to find work.
“All hotel residents continue to receive fully furnished accommodation, including a choice of three meals a day, constant access to drinking water, basic toiletries and their utility costs are covered” , said a spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior.
Some 25,000 asylum seekers and 12,000 Afghan refugees are currently staying in hotels in the UK, the Home Office told the Home Affairs Committee this week.
During the session, MPs were told the UK Government was “optimistic” that a revised way of working with the cost management councils could be found.
Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the current policy on housing evacuees was “completely inadequate”, adding: “We don’t want people in hotels”.
She said the government and local authorities were “absolutely struggling” to move Afghan refugees to more suitable permanent accommodation because the infrastructure to do so is “insufficient”.