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18th Nov 2022

Hotel owner rejects ‘obscene amount of money’ to house asylum seekers

Charlie Herbert

‘Filling our town with refugees has a negative impact on the local economy’

A hotel owner in Skegness has revealed she turned down an “obscene amount of money” from the Home Office to house asylum seekers.

Dee Allen, who owns Hatters Hotel in Skegness with her husband, said she was offered £10,000 a week in September 2021 to close her hotel and house 52 refugees for at least three months.

But she refused the offer as she believed it would have a “negative” impact on the area.

Allen, 35, who co-owns the hotel with her husband, told Lincolnshire Live: “We said at the time that we would never, ever do that to the community.

“They were also saying to us that it would be for an indefinite amount of time, not for just three months. They came back to us about four weeks ago and made us the same offer but we said ‘no’, because our morals just wouldn’t allow it.”

In an open letter posted on the hotel’s Facebook page, the owners denied rumours they had accepted any offers to accommodate asylum seekers. Five other hotels in the area have accepted such offers.

Citing her fears surrounding the impact the situation could have on Skegness, Allen said: “There are going to be no holiday-makers coming here because there’ll be no hotels that can take them. It’s going to turn into an absolute shambles.”

Matt Warman, the MP for Skegness and Boston, said the situation was the result of the immigration system “creaking at the seams” and the town was “not the best place” for asylum seekers to be housed in hotel accomodation.

Allen bought her hotel 18 months ago and said the business was struggling, but added: “We’ll plough through and if we fall on the ground and hit rock bottom, that will be it. We will never, ever, ever accept the money.”

The Home Office has previously said that the use of hotels to accommodate asylum seekers is “unacceptable” but is having to be used as a “short-term solution.”

Serco, which is contracted by the government to provide accommodation for the asylum seekers entering the UK, said the use of hotels is a “last resort”.

Jenni Halliday, the company’s contract director for asylum accommodation, said: “With the significant increases in the number of people arriving in the UK we have been faced with no alternative but to temporarily accommodate some asylum seekers in hotels.

“These hotels are only used as a last resort but as a provider of accommodation services on behalf of the Home Office we have a responsibility to find accommodation for the asylum seekers that are being placed in our care.

“The Serco team is working extremely hard to move people into dispersed social housing as rapidly as possible.”