ASYLUM seekers and refugees will no longer be housed in hotels in Barrow.

The Government has announced that Barrow's Imperial Hotel will stop accommodating people who fled countries including Afghanistan to find sanctuary in the town as authorities dealt with a backlog of asylum claims.

The hotel's contract for housing asylum seekers is due to be terminated with residents moved on to other accommodation.

It is also expected that Hotel Majestic will finish housing asylum seekers.

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In a letter to Barrow MP Simon Fell, legal migration minister Tom Pursglove said the move would happen before the end of April. 

Mr Pursglove said using hotels to house asylum seekers was a 'short-term measure to ensure that we meet our statutory obligation to accommodate asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute during a period of unprecedented numbers of small boat arrivals'.

"Utilising hotels for asylum accommodation takes valuable assets away from communities,
places pressures on local public services and imposes an unacceptable cost on the British
taxpayer," he said.

"Through the improvements we have made to our system, we are now able to
begin the next phase of hotel exits and to stop the procurement of new asylum hotels."

Asylum seekers were first placed in the Barrow hotels in 2021 after the Taliban took charge in Afghanistan.

Reacting to the announcement, Mr Fell said: "It's a welcome step as we've seen considerable community tensions stirred up over recent months."

He also claimed closing hotels was 'testament to the fact that the Home Office has met its target to deal with the historic backlog and forged returns agreements and deterrents that have slashed small boat crossings'.

The minister said residents living at the hotel would move to other parts of the Government's asylum estate, which would provide 'more appropriate' accommodation.

"Residents currently accommodated in the hotel will be moving to other parts of our asylum
estate and we aim to complete all relocations in advance of the final closure date," Mr Pursglove said.

"Residents will be notified a minimum of five days in advance and moved by the Home Office
in line with our existing published policies.

"Whilst we expect impacts on local authorities to be minimal, we are putting in place additional resource to work with our accommodation providers and local partners to manage this process and minimise disruption, particularly focusing on families."