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Penally Camp: Council Leader responds

Earlier this week Pembrokeshire County Council was made aware of the Home Office decision that Penally Camp has been chosen by them as a site to provide safe and secure accommodation in line with their statutory responsibility to provide destitute asylum seekers with accommodation.

Responding today, Council Leader, David Simpson, said: “I am aware there is a lot of discussion and concern about this announcement.

“I want to make it clear that Pembrokeshire County Council were ‘informed’ of this decision by the Home Office and did not have any discussion or say in the matter.

“It was immediately obvious to us that the Home Office’s decision has the potential for a number of impacts affecting our local community.

“Therefore, this week, we have been undertaking urgent work to review this in order to provide support to the community, provide reassurance, and support partner agencies.

“All formal communication about the accommodation is being undertaken by the Home Office, and I am not able to comment on issues relating to the camp accommodation.”

Councillor Simpson said the Home Office had issued the following press communication earlier this week:

 “During these unprecedented times the government is working with a range of partners and across departments to secure further accommodation and the MOD has offered use of some of its sites.

“When using contingency accommodation we work closely with organisations, including local authorities and law enforcement, throughout the process to ensure value for money and that vulnerable asylum seekers, who would otherwise be destitute, have suitable accommodation while their claims are processed.”

The Leader added: “I understand there are concerns and queries from all different viewpoints on this matter and I stress again the Council have not been involved in the decision to allocate Penally Camp as a site to provide safe and secure accommodation for destitute asylum seekers.

“We are, however, now trying to work with the Home Office and other key partners to try and manage the impacts of this decision.

“I am fully aware that this decision by the Home Office is leading to all sorts of comments and actions relating to the site. I would urge anyone involved to please respect our local community. ”

ID: 6948, revised 18/09/2020