Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk has secured a one-to-one meeting with the Government’s Immigration Minister to discuss steps to reduce the number of asylum seekers in the town.
Leading a Parliamentary debate on the issue, Mr Danczuk accused wealthy Conservative councils of “shirking their responsibilities” to house asylum seekers while towns like Rochdale take in hundreds.
The MP quoted research carried out by his office which showed that the vast majority of asylum seekers are being housed in the poorer Labour controlled areas where Government cuts have been most severe
Since the Government handed dispersal contracts to private firms in 2012, the number of asylum seekers in Rochdale has rocketed from 371 to 1,044.
One in every 204 residents in the town is now an asylum seeker, putting significant strain on schools, hospitals and social services.
But rather than helping the local authority to cope with this influx, Government cuts will see Rochdale Council's spending power plummet by 7% by 2017/18.
By contrast David Cameron’s West Oxfordshire constituency does not house a single asylum seeker but the local council is actually set to see a 1% increase in its spending power.
Mr Danczuk called on Immigration Minister James Brokenshire to use Government powers under the 1999 Asylum Act to force areas like this to do more.
He said: “However the Minister chooses to spin this situation, it is clear that the status-quo is deeply unfair to those less well off.
“Areas that are struggling the most under this Conservative Government have been made to carry the increasing burden of our overweight and slowing asylum system.
“They have been doing this whilst the Prime Minister’s areas have done nothing but shirk their responsibilities to the most vulnerable of people in our society and at the same time shielded themselves from the worst of the cuts.”
In response to these arguments, Mr Brokenshire agreed to meet Mr Danczuk to discuss measures to reduce the pressure on Rochdale Council.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Danczuk said: "Whilst Government Ministers talk compassionately about the need to help refugees the truth is that their local council counterparts are refusing to help.
“Conservative councillors are not prepared to do their fair share of helping asylum seekers.
“The result is that asylum seekers are often placed in substandard housing in deprived communities, a situation which is grossly unfair for everyone involved.
"I will be raising these concerns when I meet the Minister and I will continue to push for an asylum system that works."