Most asylum seekers live in poorest parts of UK, study shows

Report says they are put in 'rat-infested houses' as a result of 'systematic neglect'

Asylum seekers, Rochdale
(Image credit: Chris Furlong/Getty Images)

Home Office data reveals that more than five times as many asylum seekers live in the poorest parts of the country as in the richest.

The data, analysed by The Guardian, shows that 57 per cent of all asylum seekers are sent to the poorest third of the country, while the wealthiest third takes in a mere 10 per cent.

Local authorities in ten different districts are given responsibility for supporting more than one third of those seeking asylum, according to the report.

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These include Manchester, Nottingham, Leicester, Bolton, Rochdale and Swansea, all of which are in the poorest 25 per cent of local authorities in the country.

Politicians have labelled the system that geographically distributes asylum seekers as "dreadfully designed" and are calling for an overhaul.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper has described the system as "a deeply unfair shambles".

"You've got the asylum hostels concentrated in the lowest income areas and also in a very small number of areas," she says. "It's just not fair to do it that way. It's not good for community cohesion, it's not good for local authorities … it also creates a sense of resentment."

Cooper is also the chair of the home affairs select committee, which published a scathing report on asylum seeker distribution and housing in January. According to the report, asylum seekers are being placed in "rat-infested" and "mouldy" houses as a result of "systematic neglect".

She says the problems stem from a change of policy in 2012 when the Conservatives outsourced contracts for housing asylum seekers to private firms.

Analysis by the Guardian also shows that asylum seekers are predominantly sent to areas of the country with Labour-led councils.

Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, claims the system is "avoiding putting asylum seekers in Conservative areas" and that such measures are "completely deliberate" and "appalling".

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