“We very much welcome the Government’s continued consideration of the Refugee Council’s accommodation centre model. We believe our ‘core and cluster’ community-based model would meet all the Home Office’s objectives and be better value for money, more acceptable to local host communities and will lead to a better managed decision-making process.
“We are talking to ministers and officials and hope that at least one of the pilot accommodation centres will be based on our model and that all the models are properly evaluated. This will ensure that when the long-term strategy is finally agreed we can all be confident that it is in the best interests of a more effective asylum system.
“We are glad that ministers have confirmed their commitment to consult local communities in the areas announced today. In areas where local communities have been consulted and their concerns properly addressed, the experience has been overwhelmingly positive for both asylum seekers and local residents.
“However, we remain fundamentally opposed to large, out-of-town centres for asylum seekers. Such centres not only go against common sense but also ignore the problems of isolation and institutionalisation found in such centres elsewhere in Europe.
“The Refugee Council wants to work with the Government in establishing a system of support that is fair, cost effective and that will work. We believe our proposals for smaller, community-based centres are the right way forward and should be evaluated during the accommodation centre pilot.”