National newspaper The Sun published a feature article on Friday detailing how the Best Western Hotel in Buckingham has fired 75% of its workers to enable the property to home asylum seekers.
In an official meeting on 21 September Bucks Council Leader Martin Tett announced he had contacted the Home Office and was looking into reports that the hotel was being closed to offer accommodation to people from overseas seeking residence in the country, after there was social media speculation regarding the hotel’s change of use.
The Bucks Herald was informed by one former worker that he was being made redundant at a time when jobs were few and far between, stating that himself and the other workers were given only 13 days notice before losing their jobs.
The former staff member also stated that members of staff who were living on-site were told they must leave immediately and find somewhere else to live.
The hotel stopped accepting online bookings in September ahead of the major operational changes and new arrivals were spotted entering the hotel at the end of the month.
Despite Councillor Tett’s public statements, a Government spokesperson told The Bucks Herald: “The Home Office does not comment on operational arrangements for individual hotels.
“The use of hotels to house asylum seekers is unacceptable and we are working with local authorities to find appropriate long term accommodation across the United Kingdom.”
A spokesperson for Best Western also told The Bucks Herald: “All our hotels are independently owned and managed and operational decisions to close properties are taken by the hotel owners and management teams. We provide our member hotels with marketing, sales and revenue support.”
Asylum seekers currently at the 71-room venue expressed their sympathy for staff members who lost their jobs.
The national publication interviewed Sudanese and Iraqi nationals currently living in the Aylesbury Vale town.
One said to the newspaper: “Of course we feel bad for the hotel workers if some no longer have jobs.
“But we do not get a say in where they decide to keep us.”
According to inside sources in communication with The Sun, current owners of the Buckingham hotel are receiving £85 a day for each double room used by the Government, meaning that if the hotel remained full for an entire year it would cost £2.2million.
According to Bucks Herald, another Best Western Hotel in Northants has been set aside for similar use by the Home Office this summer.