A spokesperson for Rugby Borough Council has confirmed that asylum seekers are welcome in the town, clarifying that its frustration expressed in a previous statement was directed solely at the Home Office
Yesterday, July 29, the council issued a statement to announce that the Home Office had ordered the transportation of a group of asylum seekers to the town, where they would stay while their applications were considered.
The statement went on to explain that the Home Office had not consulted the council - and Rugby council called on the Home Office to take responsibility for the welfare of both the asylum seekers and the community.
Later that day the Advertiser spoke with Rugby council leader Seb Lowe, who reiterated the council's frustrations with the Home Office.
He said: "This was a prior arrangement between a private provider and the Home Office, which was done without our knowledge."
Yesterday's news prompted some to believe that the council took issue with asylum seekers being sent to Rugby borough.
Pete McLaren, of Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) issued a press release in which he said: "Whether or not the Home Office should have consulted Rugby Council before suggesting Rugby should accommodate a small number of asylum seekers is irrelevant: every village, town and city should welcome asylum seekers whilst their applications are being heard.
"We have never understood why much of the media, sections of the Government and, sadly, some people demonise asylum seekers.
"Asylum seekers are human beings, like we all are, and we should welcome all of them whilst their asylum claim is being assed.
"Once accepted, as most are, asylum seekers will, like all immigrants, be a net economic gain to the communities they move into, including Rugby.
"Rugby Council should take a lead in terms of welcoming asylum seekers, rather than hiding behind bureaucratic issues about who pays for what."
Responding to Mr McLaren's statement, a spokesman for Rugby council this afternoon told the Advertiser that the council takes no issue with asylum seekers being brought to the borough.
Rather, they said the council is unhappy that the decision had been made by the Home Office without the benefit of local knowledge and experience.
The spokesman added: “It is in everyone’s interests that anyone placed in our borough, whatever their background, is given appropriate accommodation and support that meets their individual needs.
“We are working with the Home Office and their contractors, Serco, along with other partners to try to address the concerns we have at some of the arrangements that have been made.”