Welfare, Maternity and Asylum Support Hotels
Thousands of people seeking asylum are currently accommodated in initial accommodation. This includes pregnant women and women and men with young children. The Helen Bamber Foundation has prepared this briefing paper to raise concerns about a specific welfare issue that has been reported to us.
The conditions in initial accommodation and ineffective standards of monitoring mean that initial accommodation is unsuitable for pregnant and nursing mothers and for parents with young children. The placement of these groups in initial accommodation is harmful to welfare and is causing widespread alarm amongst charities and healthcare professionals.
Pregnancy and maternity are protected characteristics under section 4 of the Equality Act 2010. The Public Sector Equality Duty at section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 requires measures to be put in place to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and person who do not. The lack of adequate nutrition and essential support in initial accommodation has a disproportionate adverse impact on pregnant women and women with young children.
The Home Office should urgently set a strict time-limit for placement in initial accommodation for pregnant women and young children.