Asylum seeker hostel to open in Doncaster

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A 31-bed hostel is set to open soon to accommodate people fleeing war-torn countries.

The facility, due to open in Balby in the coming weeks, will mean the number of asylum seekers living in Doncaster will increase from 265 to 296.

But the town houses a relatively low number of asylum seekers when compared with Home Office guidance, which would allow for around 1,500 to be placed in the borough.

Doncaster Council said asylum seeker placement was not a local authority decision and was down to G4S, operating on behalf of the Government. The exact location of the hostel has not been announced.

Balby ward councillor John Healy said: “It is all very well the Home Office saying there is space for 1,500 asylum seekers in Doncaster but other areas don’t seem to be doing their bit.

“I think that residents may be concerned that this may put an extra burden on local services, particularly services for children in Doncaster as these are already chock-a-block and I think if we are being asked to house more asylum seekers then the government should be increasing funding for these services.”

A council spokesman said: “The placement of asylum seekers across the country is undertaken by the Government and not local authorities.

“G4S is the Government contractor which finds private accommodation in our area.

“For many years Doncaster has played its part in supporting people seeking asylum because they are facing threats to their life or fleeing war-torn homes.

“Our position is very clear in that we need balance.

“There are obviously limits in the numbers which can be accommodated and we would expect the Government to ensure equal dispersal nationally. We shall be monitoring closely what G4S does in Doncaster.”

Managing director for G4S Immigration and Borders John Whitwam said:“Doncaster Council approve all new accommodation for asylum seekers in their area and we are grateful to them for playing their part to house some of the growing number of asylum applicants in the UK.

“Many council areas across the region do not currently take any asylum applicants, and we continue to work with the Home Office to engage with them so that the burden of meeting the UK’s commitment to asylum seekers can be achieved most fairly.”