Afghan refugees in the UK will be moved from hotels to alternative accommodation under new plans announced by Downing Street.

Photo of two Afghan women, each holding a small child

Afghan refugees

Thousands of Afghan refugees, many of whom risked their lives working for the UK, arrived here following the Taliban takeover of their country. The Taliban claimed victory in Afghanistan in August 2021 after the US-led coalition announced its withdrawal. Kabul, the Afghan capital, quickly descended into chaos as residents tried to escape rule by the religious fundamentalists.


Afghan refugees lining up to be evacuated into an aircraft

Afghan refugees being evacuated after the Taliban takeover in 2021

As of December 2022, about 24,000 Afghans have arrived into the UK to get resettled. There are about 8,000 Afghan refugees living in hotels in the UK after fleeing the Taliban in August 2021.

Figures provided to the Commons Home Affairs Committee last year showed that £5.6 million a day was being spent on hotels for people who have arrived in the UK and have submitted an asylum claim, with £1.2 million paid to house Afghan refugees who fled the country after the fall of Kabul.

The government has announced a new £35m fund to help local authorities move around 8,000 Afghans out of hotels and into permanent homes across the UK. It will also add £250m to the local authority housing fund.

The refugees have been given three months notice to relocate from the hotel to a permanent home, on the condition that they accept the first offer made to them. The veterans’ affairs minister, Johnny Mercer, told MPs any refugee who turned down an offer of accommodation would not be offered a second alternative.

The Refugee Council has expressed concerns that some Afghans may be left homeless by the new measures if they are unable to secure accommodation before leaving a hotel.

Photo of a large hotel

Afghan refugees are being told to leave Southend Hotel

“For the past year, the Conservative government has put the blame at the feet of Afghan refugees for continuing to be in hotels nearly two years on since evacuation. Yet the Conservative government are the ones who’ve failed on the promises they made to these families,” -Peymana Assad, a Labour councillor of Afghan origin

The government is also considering placing refugees in military bases or ferries as an alternative accommodation to hotels.

Photo of a military base in Linconshire, England

Military base in Lincolnshire

Government sources say each site will be able to house between 1,500 and 2,000 migrants, and initially are more likely to be used for new arrivals rather than to rehouse people currently in hotels. Minister of State for Immigration Robert Jenrick said the sites would be used to house single adult males and stressed it was not his “intention” that minors will be taken there.

However, The Refugee Council believes the accommodation being suggested is “entirely unsuitable” to the needs of asylum seekers.

“Military sites, by their very nature, can re-traumatise people who have fled war and persecution”. -Alex Fraser, British Red Cross

The government’s asylum proposals laid out in the Illegal Migration Bill are being debated in Parliament.

The legislation aims to stop migrants claiming asylum in the UK if they arrive through unauthorised means, by crossing the English Channel in small boats.

Published on: 31/03/2023


The RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) rail workers union has announced train strikes to take place on the 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 7th of January 2023.

Photo of a poster about planned tube closures in front of a train station

A Planned Closures poster in front of Brockley Station

Train strikes have been taking place since June 21 2022, when members of the RMT walked out over wages and planned changes to working practices.

Now occurring more often amid the cost-of-living crisis, these ongoing rail strikes are due to not only pay, but also changes to terms and conditions and job cuts. The economic crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic have also already exacerbated the financial status of the UK.

Trains that do run on the days of the strikes will start later and finish earlier than usual, meaning that passengers will find it very difficult to travel by train, and perhaps also by bus as people are using alternative modes of public transport to get around.

‘’The train strikes have definitely affected everyone across the UK. My home is in London, but I’ve moved to Nottingham for University and I’ve seen a really big price increase in national rail tickets especially. Coach tickets have also gone up due to the high demand and I’m now paying £30 for a three-hour coach back home, whereas before the strikes I paid around £12. People are finding it much harder to get to work or see friends and family, and students have to pay double the price from before just to get home, it’s ridiculous. But with that being said, I understand that the rail workers are striking because they are underpaid, like many other people in the service industry. And the cost of living crisis as well has shown the urgency for pay rises for the people of the UK. Yes, the strikes are an inconvenience, but in my opinion, the workers are definitely entitled to more money. The strikes themselves have proven just how much we need to rely on other people to be able to do their jobs whilst getting the pay that they deserve.’’ -Oliwia, a student at Nottingham University.

Due to the train strikes, commuters may find themselves being late to work or other planned events, which may also affect other people as a result. Passengers are also forced to use other means of transport, which may be more costly not only for the public, but also for the government – the cost of providing alternative forms of transport for commuters affected by the train strikes may worsen the economic status of the UK even further.

”We want to end these strikes with a deal that’s fair to workers, passengers, and the taxpayer.” -Mark Harper, Transport Secretary.

Published on: 03/01/2023