Council calls for clarification over asylum seeker housing

Leeds City Council has expressed its concern over an ongoing delay by a government contractor in providing accommodation for asylum seekers in the city.

The council has delivered accommodation and support to asylum seekers as part of a group of local authorities in Yorkshire and Humber region through a contract with the UK Border Agency since the 1990s .

In March this year, UKBA awarded a new contract was to G4S to cover the Yorkshire and Humber and North East regions following a retendering process. The current contract with the local authority consortium is due to expire on 12 November 2012.

The government originally set a transition period to allow up until the 28 September 2012 to move all the people accommodated by Leeds City Council to housing options secured by G4S. This date has now had to be extended to 12 November 2012, as the company have been unable to achieve their target, and families still have not secured new accommodation.

As of 30 October, 166 people are still being accommodated by Leeds City Council, even though the contract with the local authority will end on 12th November 2012.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:

“I am shocked that vulnerable people can be treated in this way. It is simply not fair to leave so much uncertainty with these families, and I would like urgent clarification from the government and G4S as to when the issue will be resolved.

“All the families we currently support were given information by the government earlier this year that said they would be transferred by now to accommodation provided by G4S , but the timescale keeps slipping, and no firm answers are being given.

“Our key consideration remains the welfare of the asylum seekers and we have concerns about the impact which may result from failure to achieve this handover in the agreed time frame.”


For media enquiries, please contact;

Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk