Doncaster Council 'has no say on where Afghan refugees are housed in borough' says Mayor Ros Jones

Doncaster Council has no say in where Afghan refugees are housed as dozens of families currently take shelter in a borough hotel, Mayor Ros Jones has said.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 6:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 9:28 am
Danum Hotel

The Danum Hotel, in Doncaster town centre, is being used by the Home Office, to take in dozens of families who fled the country earlier this year after the Taliban returned to power following nearly 20 years of war.

It’s been previously reported that the hotel – now officially called the Mercure Doncaster Centre Danum Hotel – has been booked on an ‘exclusive use contract’ but bosses did not confirm who was behind the booking.

The Home Office has taken over a number of hotels across the country to house refugees and also to quarantine travellers under coronavirus restrictions in recent months.

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Mayor said has received a ‘number of emails’ on the issue but did not say whether these were positive or negative in tone.

It’s understood councils offer support to help with incoming refugee programmes but do not have a say on the numbers of where they are put by the Home Office.

Mayor Jones said: “Over the last few days I have received a number of emails in relation to Afghan families arriving in Doncaster.

“We are aware of the arrangement that the Home Office has made to temporarily support Afghan families evacuated as part of the humanitarian crisis, in a Doncaster hotel, whilst permanent accommodation is found.

“This is a Government decision which requires no permission or approval from the council. It is a direct agreement between the Home Office and the accommodation provider.

“That said, we’re working with partners in Doncaster to offer support where needed.

“We are unable to comment on details about the individuals relocated here.”

The UK Government has pledged to resettle 20,000 people over the course of the scheme, and approximately 5,000 people in the first year.

Thousands of people fled Afghanistan after Western forces withdrew from the country and the Taliban swiftly took back power in a matter of weeks.