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Top Stories: Government Considers Housing Asylum Seekers on Boats, New Bill Could Block Prison Releases

Placing immigrants in RAF bases has been met with opposition by local residents (Alamy)

5 min read

Government is set to confirm a range of new plans aimed at reducing the use of asylum seeker hotels, which could include use of accommodation on ships and in unused military bases.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick is expected to say that placing asylum seekers in hotels is an “unsustainable” cost that amounts to £6m a day. 

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said that “nothing is off the table” when it comes to considering options. He told Sky News that placing people in hotels offers an “incentive” for traffickers to send people across the Channel illegally. 

“It encourages the business model of the criminal gangs that send more and more on this perilous journey, so we have to deal with it,” Raab said.

He confirmed the government is looking at a range of options for cheaper accommodation, including barges and ex-military barracks. 

The Home Office may also be considering using disused cruise ships, according to the Guardian.

RAF bases in Lincolnshire and Essex are being considered as accommodation for people who have arrived in the UK illegally, but the foreign secretary James Cleverly has opposed the possible plans for RAF Wethersfield in his Essex constituency to be used.

“I have spoken with the immigration minister who has confirmed that while this is being considered, along with similar sites, a final decision has not been made at this stage,” the foreign secretary said in a statement.

“I highlighted the remote nature of the site, the limited transport infrastructure and narrow road network and that these factors would mean the site wasn’t appropriate for asylum accommodation.”

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said he has heard this kind of announcement “several times before” and that he believes the Conservative government is trying to secure votes ahead of May’s local elections.

"Our concern is that they are not dealing with the fundamental problems: they are not processing applications quick enough,” Davey told Sky News.

“By failing to do the basics right they are failing these people and they are failing the whole country.”

New Victims and Prisoners Bill to block release of prisoners

prison
Ministers could be given powers to block the release of some prisoners (Alamy)

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab is proposing new legislation that will allow ministers to be able to block the release of some prisoners and grant further rights for victims of crime. 

The government is pledging to give victims more of a say in the justice system, with reforms to be implemented in the Victims and Prisoners Bill which will be introduced in Parliament on Wednesday. 

Reforms will include giving victims the power to challenge decisions in court, and preventing some prisoners sentenced for serious offences from getting married while in prison.

Raab said the plans will "make sure that victims are front and centre of the criminal justice system" and make public protection an “exclusive focus”.

"I want to make sure that the drift away from public protection [in the parole system] is curtailed,” he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

At 12pm on Wednesday Raab will go up against Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner for Prime Minister’s Questions, as Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer are attending the funeral of former Commons Speaker Betty Boothroyd.

Government underprepared for climate change, report finds

POWER STATION pollution
The CCC has said the government lacks "drive" to ensure climate resilience (Alamy)

The government has shown a “striking lack of preparation” for addressing climate change, according to a new report by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) coming out on Wednesday. 

The report warns that the UK could face food shortages and lose mobile phone signals due to the effects of climate change, and claims there has been a “lost decade” with a failure to tackle the environmental damages of pollution and waste. 

By considering 14 sectors of the UK that will be worst affected by climate change, the report sets out what planning and policies have been in place and how well they have been delivered. 

Baroness Brown, who chairs the adaptation committee within the CCC, said: “The government’s lack of urgency on climate resilience is in sharp contrast to the recent experience of people in this country.

“People, nature and infrastructure face damaging impacts as climate change takes hold. These impacts will only intensify in the coming decades.”

The government will announce a ‘green day’ package of proposals on Thursday to improve energy security.

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