author: JACK DOYLE EXECUTIVE POLITICAL EDITOR FOR THE DAILY MAIL
Asylum seekers who have survived torture in their home countries are being forced to live in filthy, vermin-ridden, damp properties, an official report suggests.
Inspectors found only a quarter of houses and flats checked over nearly 22 months were found to comply with standards.
More than four in ten were classed as ‘not fit for purpose’ or in need of ‘urgent’ repair.
The report, which was handed to the Home Office in July but not published until yesterday, detailed accounts of properties being dirty, infested with vermin and having problems with damp.
In one, the ventilation was so bad that a three-year-old boy began suffering ill health, while a mother and baby unit for seven women with children under the age of two had ‘blocked drains, an infestation of rodents, damp and mould’.
There were also long delays in getting repairs done. One new mother had to wait a month for someone to assemble a cot for her new baby, while others waited two weeks for a light bulb to be changed.
Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, found that in the 22 months to January this year, only 24 per cent of the 8,313 properties inspected were found to comply with standards
Charities representing the refugees said survivors of torture, and victims of human trafficking, were being forced to share rooms with strangers.
The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, found that in the 22 months to January this year, only 24 per cent of the 8,313 properties inspected were found to comply with standards.
Another 3,567 – or 43 per cent – were ‘not fit for purpose’ or classed as ‘urgent’ meaning contractors had to take action within one working day and make a permanent repair within a week.
The accommodation is provided by three private contractors covering six region across England and Wales. New contracts begin in September 2019.
Chief Inspector David Bolt said: ‘For several reasons, not least the difficulty of extracting evidence from the Home Office, this inspection proved more challenging than most.
A Home Office spokesman said the report covered a ‘small sample’ of the 12,000 properties for asylum seekers. But officials insisted ministers were committed to improving standards.