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Plaid Cymru slams UK Government over plans to house migrants on military bases

25 Mar 2023 3 minute read
Penally military camp was used to house asylum seekers. Picture from Google Maps

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts has hit out at plans for the UK Government to house migrants on military bases and potentially disused ferries.

Sky News has reported that the move is expected to be announced by ministers within weeks as they seek to stop the use of hotels for migrant accommodation.

Penally military camp in Pembrokeshire and the Napier barracks in Kent were both used as makeshift accommodation for asylum seekers from September 2020.

The Penally site was closed in March 2021, but the Napier barracks continued to be used as a holding site for people who arrived in the UK in small boats until late last year.

During the autumn, thousands of people had been placed in tents there, leading to overcrowding and disease.

Unsuitable

“Inspectors described the Penally barracks in Pembrokeshire as ‘impoverished, run-down and unsuitable’. They found the vast majority of people housed there to be feeling depressed and hopeless, Ms Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru’s Home Affairs spokesperson said.

“Penally was thankfully shut down and people were moved to more appropriate accommodation. But this Tory Government learned nothing from their failures.

“Reports of plans to move asylum seekers to army bases within weeks shows yet again that this Tory Government is driven by cruelty not policy outcomes.”

A report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) published in 2021 highlighted the deteriorating mental health of residents in both Penally and Napier barracks camps and described them as “filthy” and “impoverished”.

The former chief inspector, David Bolt, also wrote to Priti Patel, the then home secretary, criticising her department’s failure to consult local authorities over the use of the camps and its “wholly inadequate” health assessments, and “extremely poor” communications.

The Welsh Government revealed that neither they or Pembrokeshire Council were consulted by the Home Office or Ministry of Defence about proposals to use Penally to house asylum seekers and First Minister Mark Drakeford accused the Home Office of failing to address “serious issues” regarding living conditions at the camp.

Plans to house asylum seekers at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire were met with fierce opposition from locals and politicians earlier this week.

The airfield, which closed last year, is the former home of The Red Arrows aerobatics display team and the Dambusters – and could house about 1,500 asylum seekers.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago

Before I address SLR any update on the Llanbedr Bypass Protest, which N.C has conspicuously avoided so far…

A.Redman
A.Redman
10 months ago

How exactly would LSR and her party propose to deal with undocumented asylum seekers?

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
10 months ago
Reply to  A.Redman

Do all those asylum seekers want to come to Wales ?

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
10 months ago

 They found the vast majority of people housed there to be feeling depressed and hopeless, Ms Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru’s Home Affairs spokesperson said. Perhaps Ms Cockney rebel can tell us what would be suitable for these people to prevent them being so depressed and hopeless. Very easy to just have a go when you do not have to solve such problems.

William Evans
William Evans
10 months ago

It’s a tricky problem but one thing’s for sure.

The pious, sanctimonious, middle class
virtue signallers who advocate for open borders don’t want these people anywhere near them.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
10 months ago
Reply to  William Evans

Do these asylum seekers choose to come to Wales ?

If they want to be Welsh they and their families should be integrated into the community and workforce. We are short of Carers, Bus drivers, hospitality workers etc.
These people of working age we need to support our ageing population.

We can do this if our Welsh government had over all control of our own country.
Go for it.
Do not renew that failed ‘…insurance policy’ Mr Drakeford.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago

What do the Home Office, the MOD or local councils know about providing good social housing ? Ask those who do this sort of thing for a living…e.g. the United Nations…

hdavies15
hdavies15
10 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

None of them, or any other public body have track records in providing social housing for native homeless or those stuck in homes unfit for purpose. But the urge to sound off is irresistible.

Richard
Richard
10 months ago

While PC have a proud record of internationalism and respect for others going back to Gwynfor and through to Eurig Wyn , Rhodri Glyn & Jill Evans – LSR perhaps needs to draw breath and look at what she is reportedly saying.

Facing all ways as with the Plaid nuclear ☢️ policies rarely pleases anyone . Just a well meant thought 💭.

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