A GOVERNMENT Minister has failed to provide an adequate answer as he was grilled by MP Simon Danczuk over the number of asylum seekers in Rochdale.
During a Parliamentary debate, Mr Danczuk quizzed Immigration Minister James Brokenshire as to why there are currently more than 1,000 asylum seekers living in Rochdale.
Mr Danczuk’s question came after he wrote to Mr Brokenshire to raise concerns about the disproportionately high number of asylum seekers in the town, compared to council areas in the south of the country.
For example, there is not a single asylum seeker housed in David Cameron’s Oxfordshire constituency of Witney while Home Secretary Theresa May’s constituency hosts just four.
Mr Danczuk said: “The Immigration Minister wrote to me saying there are 33,000 asylum seekers across 95 local authorities.
“If these were spread across all 326 councils, that would 101 asylum seekers in each local authority.
“Why then does Rochdale now have 1,071 asylum seekers?”
In response, Mr Brokenshire said the Government had “retained” the same dispersal policy as the previous Labour administration and used “the strategic migration partnership to ensure people are well settled within this country”.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Danczuk said he was disappointed by the reply.
He said: “The Minister has previously claimed that Government policy is to ensure a ‘reasonable spread’.
“Why then does Rochdale host more asylum seekers than the whole of the South East region? I think the figures speak for themselves.
“The Conservatives have had more than five years to address this issue. To blame the previous Labour Government is insincere and disappointing.
“The current situation puts even more stress on schools, the NHS, council services and housing in Rochdale, which are already under strain because of millions in Government cuts.
“It is also grossly unfair on asylum seekers who are dumped in such large numbers without sufficient Government support or guidance.
“I think the people of Rochdale, and the vulnerable people housed in our community, deserve a proper response from the Minister.”