More than five times as many asylum seekers live in the poorest third of the country as in the richest third, according to a Guardian analysis.
MPs have labelled the way asylum seekers are distributed around Britain “appalling”, “dreadfully designed” and “a deeply unfair shambles” because of the way it disproportionately houses people in poor, Labour-voting areas in the north of England and Wales, as well as Glasgow.
According to a Guardian analysis of Home Office data, more than half of all asylum seekers (57%) live in the poorest third of the country. The richest third of the country houses 10% of all asylum seekers, basing calculations on the median income in each local authority for which income data is available.
“You’ve got the asylum hostels concentrated in the lowest income areas and also in a very small number of areas. It’s just not fair to do it that way. It’s not good for community cohesion, it’s not good for local authorities … it also creates a sense of resentment.” Yvette Cooper, Labour MP and chair of the home affairs select committee, explained. Cooper said that the problems stemmed from a change of policy in 2012 by the Conservatives, which saw the contracts for housing asylum seekers privatised and given to G4S, Serco and Clearsprings. She said these contracts, and the reduced money they were given to execute them, inevitably meant that companies sought to procure cheap housing in poor parts of the country.
Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, said: “They are avoiding putting asylum seekers in Conservative areas. It’s completely deliberate." Windsor and Maidenhead, of which Theresa May’s constituency of Maidenhead forms a part, which is home to just four asylum seekers.