Asylum seekers face `shameful’ housing conditions in Britain

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Many asylum seekers in Britain are forced to live in filthy, poorly maintained houses infested with vermin under a system run by contractors that needs “major reforms,’’ a parliamentary report said on Tuesday.

An investigation found problems including inadequate support for vulnerable people and infestations of mice, rats and bedbugs in homes.

It is so unclean that some families were “unable to put their children down on dirty carpets and rotten sofas,’’ said the report by the cross-party Home Affairs Committee.

“Some of this accommodation is a disgrace and it is shameful that some very vulnerable people have been placed in such conditions,’’ the report said.



Yvette Cooper, a Labour lawmaker who chairs the committee, said the current system of providing accommodation through private contractors “just isn’t working,’’ calling for “major reforms.’’

Even where better quality housing and support are provided, it is “still far too concentrated in the most deprived areas,’’ Cooper said.

“It is completely unfair on those local authorities and communities that have signed up and are now taking many more people, when so many local authorities in more affluent areas are still doing nothing at all,’’ she said.

The report recommended “immediate action to improve standards and monitoring,’’ including stronger inspection powers for local authorities, higher standards and tougher penalties.

It said the system should be reformed to meet the needs of extremely vulnerable people, including victims of torture and trafficking. (dpa/NAN)

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