Priti presses Immigration Minister to answer Wethersfield questions
Witham MP Priti Patel has pressed the Immigration Minister to answer questions about the length of time the Government is planning to use the Wethersfield site for and over the funding being provided to local authorities. Following reports over the summer that the Home Office was planning to use the site for five years, during a statement in the House of Commons on illegal migration, Priti asked the Minister to give clarity on the time the site would be used for and for new funding for local councils. In response, the Minister could not give an answer to the length of time the site would be used for and what planning process will be followed once the current 12 month permission secured expires.
Priti said: “Wethersfield is an unsuitable site for large scale asylum seeker accommodation and it is frustrating that the Government cannot give answers to questions about the future of the site and their plans for it. Ministers have used a loophole in the planning system to get the site set up for 12 months but will not tell us how long the site will be in use for and have yet to commit to give councils the long term funding they need to deal with the impact and pressures caused.”
“Tackling illegal migration into the country is a challenge, but instead of accommodating asylum seekers at Wethersfield, the Government should be implementing and using all the measures I signed off in the New Plan for Immigration. This robust plan included the establishment of Greek-style reception centres, more detention facilities and a streamlined process to deal with asylum applications and appeals.”
“The local community, councils and public services in Essex need clear answers and funding from the Government I will continue pressing Ministers over their decision to use the Wethersfield site.”
Hansard entry for Priti’s question to the Immigration Minister (5 September 2023):