A Facebook post makes a series of claims about plans to house asylum seekers in a hotel in Ipswich, and what support they might receive.
The post says: “The Novotel hotel in Ipswich is being taken over by the home office for the use of housing asylum seekers and will no longer be a public hotel from after the 24th of this month, the current staff are all going to be losing their jobs right before Christmas as the home office will be bringing in their own staff.”
It adds: “It has been said that each person living there will get 3 meals a day, heated accommodation and paid £57 a week”.
Last week, the BBC reported that the Home Office is planning to house 200 asylum seekers in the Novotel hotel in Ipswich, and that a letter has been sent to staff at the hotel “outlining Home Office plans to bring in its own catering staff, putting restaurant and kitchen staff at risk.”
The Home Office has not confirmed this publicly, and we’ve contacted them about the report and these claims.
However, we do know that asylum seekers who are housed in catered hotels receive considerably less money than this.
Honesty in public debate matters
You can help us take action – and get our regular free email
How much money do asylum seekers receive?
The Facebook post claims that asylum seekers set to be housed in the hotel will be paid “£57 a week.”
It’s not clear where this figure is from.
Asylum seekers can apply for asylum support from the government. If this application is granted, an asylum seeker would theoretically be moved from the initial accommodation they were provided while waiting for their application to be processed, to dispersal accommodation (usually a self-catered furnished flat or house away from London or the south-east.)
Asylum seekers receiving asylum support and living in self-catered accommodation can receive £40.85 per week for each person in their household on a prepaid card, to pay for things like food, clothing and toiletries. They are not eligible for mainstream benefits.
Children and pregnant women get an extra £3 to £5 per week on top of that and there’s also a one-off £300 maternity payment available to those with a baby due in eight weeks or less or have a baby under six weeks old.
However, some asylum seekers will be offered “contingency accommodation”, which includes hotels or B&Bs. This would presumably include the Novotel in Ipswich.
If this accommodation is full board, meaning meals are provided, (as the Facebook post claims), asylum seekers staying there do not get £40.85 per week, but instead receive a smaller amount “to meet needs related to clothes, non-prescription medicines and travel.
Following a High Court ruling, in October 2020, the government announced that people in such accommodation would start getting £8 per week up from £5. As of April 2022 this amount is £8.24 per week.
We’ve written about claims relating to asylum support and the amount of money asylum seekers can receive several times previously.
Image courtesy of Stux