Council denies city centre hotel will be used to house asylum seekers
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
A large hotel in Swansea won’t be used to accommodate asylum seekers, the authorities have said.
Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart made the comment at a meeting of full council in response to material posted online about the Dragon Hotel.
The Home Office subsequently said it had no plans to accommodate asylum seekers at the hotel.
Cllr Stewart did not name the hotel or the group which has posted material when giving an update at the meeting.
He added that the material posted online was inaccurate and misleading. It wasn’t the case, he said, that the hotel would be used for this purpose.
He said the council has been clear with the Home Office that hotel accommodation was not the right way to support such people.
“I understand the Home Office will shortly be making a statement to confirm similar arrangements,” he said.
Swansea, said Cllr Stewart, should be proud of its track record as a city of sanctuary.
Opposition group leader, Cllr Chris Holley, and leader of Swansea Conservatives, Cllr Lyndon Jones, agreed.
Cllr Holley said Swansea was a city of “friendship and welcoming”.
Contacted by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the Home Office said it had no current or future plans to accommodate asylum seekers at the hotel in question.
A spokesman for the Dragon Hotel said: “There have been a number of false rumours circulating on social media concerning the hotel and we are grateful for the city council for its support on the matter.”
He added: “In addition to the council leader’s statement, we would also like to confirm that claims on social media of job losses are also completely untrue.”
Like many councils, Swansea has accepted a small number of Afghan refugees since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in the summer – and Cllr Stewart said the authority would continue to support people fleeing war and conflict.
A priority relocation policy was launched in the UK in April this year for current or former Afghan interpreters and other personnel who worked with the UK and were considered to be under serious threat.
Ministers said this summer that they expected 5,000 Afghans to relocate this year under this scheme, rising to 20,000 in the long term.
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