Jo Stevens

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Demand for answers on temporary accommodation for asylum seekers

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate this morning, I raised the issues surrounding Lynx House temporary accommodation facility in Cardiff.

The facility has been under scrutiny recently, initially due to the practice of forcing asylum seekers to wear wristbands to access meals. Following this investigation in The Guardian a raft of other issues have come to light, including a lack of maintenance, overcrowding and unsafe conditions.

Cardiff Council has now inspected the property and expects to issue prohibition notices for part closure until some essential repairs are completed.

In the debate today, I highlighted these issues and the government's continued lack of robust scrutiny of private contractors who run temporary accommodation facilities.

I demanded answers from the Minister for Immigration James Brokenshire MP, including on whether or not the Government was aware of the conditions at Lynx House and if reports of inspections at the property can be made public.

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In response the Minister, James Brokenshire MP said that the UK Government is proud of the country's record on providing sanctuary and asylum to those in need of it. He also asserted that private contractors had paid fines for not keeping accommodation to appropriate standards.

He did not, however, agree to the wholesale review that had been requested during the debate by members of several parties.

I welcome the Minister's comments today, confirming the UK Government's commitment to provide sanctuary and asylum to those in need of it. I was extremely disappointed that I am still awaiting a response from the Minister on several of the issues I have previously raised, including whether inspection reports can be published and if it is possible to terminate these private operational contracts where standards are consistently not being met.

The current inspections are clearly not sufficient to ensure that conditions are safe and suitable and it's time for the Government to step up, step in and make sure those seeking sanctuary are treated properly.

Following my speech I'm pleased that the Minister has today agreed to meet me to discuss the outstanding issues and concerns.

You can watch my contribution to the debate here:

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