Scampton: asylum camp to be used for ‘shortest time possible’

Published on 20 March 2024, by Gainsboroughlive | No comments yet |

Rishi Sunak made the comment during PMQs in response to a question from Lincolnshire MP Sir Edward Leigh.

Sir Edward is calling for parts of the site to be released for regeneration.

A report from The National Audit Office (NAO) found that plans to use alternative asylum sites would cost millions more than hotels.

A deal was announced last March to turn the site, near Lincoln, into a business, aerospace and heritage centre as part of a £300m regeneration project.

However, shortly afterwards the Home Office announced plans to house up to 2,000 asylum seekers at the site, a number that was reduced to 800 this week.

The plans have led to protests and legal challenges from West Lindsey District Council, about the suitability of the site, the impact on the regeneration project and the site’s heritage.

Speaking in the Commons earlier, Sir Edward asked about the “spiralling costs of using ex-military bases to house migrants” and the reduction in numbers.

He urged the prime minister to “ensure that his minister for immigration meets West Lindsey District Council and myself urgently” to discuss releasing “most of the base for regeneration”.

“This iconic base – the home of the Red Arrows and Dambusters,” he added.

In response, the prime minister paid tribute to Sir Edward for the way he had engaged with the government “on this important issue for his local community”.

“As acknowledged, our plan is working to cut the use of asylum hotels and we will have closed 100 hotels [by] next week on top of cutting small boat arrivals.

“But I know he is talking to the minister for illegal migration about how best to accommodate a smaller number of asylum seekers safely at RAF Scampton, whilst recognising the council’s ambitious plans for regeneration,” the prime minister said.

“Let me tell him, I fully support those discussions and the government is committed to the site being used for the shortest possible time and then released to the benefit of the local community,” he added.

This article was originally published on BBC News

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