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Third of migrants moved off former RAF base in fresh blow to Rishi Sunak | Politics | News

A third of migrants being housed at a former RAF base have left within weeks in a fresh blow to the Government’s plans to slash eye-watering hotel costs.

Some 46 Channel migrants were transferred to RAF Wethersfield, near Braintree in Essex, last month.

But 16 have since either been moved to hotels or decided to leave to stay with relatives.

Up to a dozen from Eritrea are said to have been potential victims of modern slavery which made them “unsuitable” for the accommodation under the Home Office’s rules.

Officials are understood to have decided to move them to hotels as the government department could have faced legal challenges, The Telegraph reported.

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Those who left to stay with relatives are required to provide evidence of addresses and are subject to immigration bail.

It is a further blow to the Government’s plans to house migrants in disused military air bases and barges to cut the £6million daily cost of hotels.

Last week, 39 migrants were taken off the Bibby Stockholm barge just days after arriving when traces of Legionella bacteria were found in the water supply.

Wethersfield has been earmarked to house 1,700 male asylum seekers by the autumn.

Meanwhile, RAF Scampton, in Lincolnshire, will accommodate up to 2,000 men with the first arrivals due in October. Both sites have come up against strong local opposition. 

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We have been clear that the use of hotels to house asylum seekers is unacceptable – there are currently more than 51,000 asylum seekers in hotels costing the UK taxpayer £6 million a day.

“We engage with local authorities as early as possible whenever sites are used for asylum accommodation and work to ensure arrangements are safe for hotel residents and local people.

“We are working closely to listen to the local communities’ views and reduce the impact of sites, including through providing onsite security and financial support.”

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