Female asylum seekers arrive in Carlisle after losing luggage en route

  • ITV Border's Hannah McNulty speaks to asylum seekers about the journeys they have made coming to the UK to escape severe risk and danger in their home nations.

The first female asylum seekers have arrived at a hotel in Carlisle where they are due to stay while their claims are processed. 

Urgent donations of warm clothing, gloves and jackets had been asked for after the women's bags were lost en route to Cumbria from Kent.

They have now been found and people are being thanked by the Carlisle Refugee Action Group, but asked not to donate any more until they have established what is needed. 

It is understood children will also be joining them at the hotel which is the second in the city to offer housing to asylum seekers. 

It's part of a Home Office scheme to deal with the number of people trying to claim asylum in the UK.

Some people in the local community have opposed the move, but there has also been widespread support.

The Government policy has been criticised by the leader of Cumbria County Council Stewart Young.

Local authorities are not consulted on the process but do provide support in terms of access to local services.

Mr Young said: “This is happening because the Government has failed to get a grip on the whole issue, despite regularly promising to do so, but we must recognise that these people are not illegal immigrants.

“Anyone has a right, enshrined in law, to seek asylum in this country and we must treat them properly when they do. Given the chaos in the national response, I accept that Cumbria has a role to play, just like everywhere else.

“The women who will be staying at this hotel will have left their home countries in fear of their safety, and many will have risked their lives to get here.

"Until the Government gets its act together, they need our welcome and support, not hostility and suspicion.

“They should not be scapegoats for the many things that are going wrong in this country right now, such as the problems in the NHS, and the cost-of-living crisis. The blame for those lies elsewhere.

“I have said before that Cumbria has a proud history of supporting refugees and people seeking asylum and I hope and believe that the vast majority of people in this county would wish to continue that tradition.”

In response the Home Office said non a statement: “The number of people arriving in the UK who require accommodation has reached record levels and has put our asylum system under incredible strain.

“The use of hotels to house asylum seekers is unacceptable – there are currently more than 37,000 asylum seekers in hotels costing the UK taxpayer £5.6million a day.

"The use of hotels is a short-term solution and we are working hard with local authorities to find appropriate accommodation.”

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