29 March 2023

British Red Cross responds to reported government plans to house asylum seekers on static barges

Responding to reports that the government plans to house asylum seekers on giant static barges and at RAF sites, Alex Fraser, the British Red Cross’s UK director for refugee support and restoring family links, said:

“We know from our work supporting men, women and children seeking asylum that these sites will be entirely inappropriate for people and will lead to significant suffering.

“People who have been forced to flee their homes have already experienced unimaginable trauma. They need stability, support, to be able to maintain contact with their loved ones and to feel safe. Military sites, by their very nature, can re-traumatise people who have fled war and persecution. These sites may also put vulnerable people at risk of exploitation.

“We find ourselves in this position as a direct result of the failure of tackle the asylum backlog, with 160,000 people living in limbo. We need a more effective and compassionate asylum system, one that supports people to integrate into a community so they can find safety and live in dignity.”