Manchester, News, Politics

Andy Burnham Clashes With Government Over Asylum Seekers

0 69

By Ben Thompson

Greater Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham has condemned the government’s policy on asylum seekers, claiming that a disproportionate amount are being relocated in Manchester compared to other parts of the country.

Burnham recently wrote to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, hoping to organise a meeting to address the ‘blatant disregard’ being shown to the North-West region.

The Manchester Evening News recently reported that one in six Asylum seekers are being housed in Greater Manchester – while 180 other local authorities are housing none at all.

The reason why so many Asylum seekers are housed in Greater Manchester is  because of the government’s dispersal scheme. Started under the previous Labour Government, it sees Asylum seekers being placed in regions outside of the South East, which are  deemed too expensive.

Burnham’s letter was extremely critical of this policy: “Given the enormous pressures your dispersal programme is creating on the public services in this city-region […] I, and the ten council leaders, now need to give serious consideration to actively pursuing Greater Manchester’s withdrawal as a dispersal area.”

Since 2016, more than 42,000 people have sought asylum in the UK. More than 7,000 of them are being housed in Greater Manchester – often in the poorest communities.

Only Liverpool, Cardiff, Birmingham and Glasgow house more Asylum seekers.

It’s the view of Burnham and other council leaders that the responsibility is weighing too heavily on Manchester’s shoulders. Theresa May’s constituency of Maidenhead doesn’t house any Asylum seekers at all – and over 100 other local councils only have Asylum seeker numbers in the single figures.

Jim McMahon, the MP for Oldham West and Royton, has also spoken out against the government, arguing that the task of housing Asylum seekers is left to areas like Oldham while “areas down the road are taking virtually none”.

In response to the criticism, Home Secretary Sajid Javid promised to work on “a more equitable distribution of supported asylum seekers” and vowed to work with other local leaders who had raised concerns.

About the author / 

Ben Thompson

Modern History student. Mostly writes about politics and social issues.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • Neither here nor there: the danger of forsaking nuance

    By Brontë Schiltz A few weeks ago, I had to watch Paranorman for one of my Masters modules (the perks of studying the Gothic). At the end of the film (spoilers), it is revealed that the witch tormenting the fictional townspeople is the revenant spirit of Agatha, a young girl accused of witchcraft, who was…

  • Live Review: The Japanese House @ Academy 2

    By Callum Baker Photography by Georgina Hurdsfield Friday saw Dirty Hit Records’ own The Japanese House grace the stage of Manchester Academy 2 to an excitable and receptive crowd. Since her emergence in 2015, which is seldom a distant memory, her success has grown exponentially, along with her confidence. Still modest and mild mannered, she…

  • Preview: Pinegrove – On The Road Again

    By Georgina Hurdsfield After a hiatus that began in 2017, New Jersey’s favourite five-piece alt-indie band Pinegrove are back, with UK tour dates and the physical release of their self-released album, Skylight, on 15th February 2019, with all proceeds going to charity. Skylight boasts stripped-back, openhearted, emo-revival sounds, with little bits of indie-folk drafted in…

  • American Airline United Airlines Now Offering Non-Binary Gender Booking Options

    By Shawna Healey USA-based airline, United Airlines, has announced that it is changing its booking policies, now allowing for passengers to choose “undisclosed or unspecified” instead of male and female, and to use the title “Mx” instead of other traditional titles. The changes come just over a month after several American US carriers confirmed that they will…