The decision to relocate Afghan refugees from Croydon to Watford has sparked political controversy.
Crispin Blunt, a member of the Conservative parliament in Reigate, said the Croydon Council was making the evacuation of Afghan refugees “slower and more difficult.”
He said in a letter that 45 Afghan refugees would be evacuated from the Croydon Hotel to Watford, adding that the situation was “badly affected” by the Home Office.
The Afghan Resettlement and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme is implemented by the government and provides permanent shelter to refugees and short-term housing.
Croydon Council leader Hamida Ali responded to the letter by saying that the decision to evacuate the refugees was made by the Interior Ministry.
He added that he had not yet received government money to support refugees temporarily housed at the Croydon Hotel.
In the letter, Mr. Blunt requested that the family of a former soldier be relocated to England.
He said 45 people who had been temporarily housed at the Croydon Hotel had to move to Watford today, according to the Department of the Interior.
He added: “Now that they have lost everything, the Croydon Council and the financially conflicting local government are arguing over what resources to get from the central government, pledging, slowing down and making it more difficult to relocate them.”
“The Department of the Interior has decided not only to back ARAP’s national commitment to the deprivation of refugees, but also to choose an easy way to push them across the country instead of facing the council and threatening to cut off their services.”
But Croydon board member Sean Fitzymons responded with a “disgraceful explanation.”
He tweeted: “For the past two decades, Croydon has supported hundreds of asylum seekers every year and promised to support them from the Department of the Interior, but the costs were paid by the council’s taxpayers.
“Crispin Blunt is a member of the Tory government and has promised to support local councils to help asylum seekers from Afghanistan, but the Tory government, led by Priti Patel, has not been able to recoup the additional costs.”
Because the Home Office’s Moon Palace is located in the district, the Croydon Council has historically received more refugees than any other local council.
The head of the council said that the committee cares for more than 1,000 refugees from Afghanistan and other countries.
He said: “The ARAP Bridge Hotel was ordered and managed by the Ministry of the Interior and, independently of the council, to provide short-term accommodation when the government established permanent housing.” The leader then added: “I visited [the hotel] and I know from talking to the people who live there that I have a sincere desire to have a permanent home as soon as possible. Take steps to have more permanent housing in the new area.
“I understand Mr. Blunt is concerned about the consequences of this move, but he should talk to the Home Office, which is in charge of this site, rather than attacking the council and trying to impose political ideas.”
The Ministry of Internal Affairs was contacted for comment.