Afghanistan evacuee feels “stuck” in London hotel room

A British man evacuated from Afghanistan with his family said he feels “stuck” in his London hotel while he waits for news of permanent accommodation.

Abdul and Fatima, whose names have been changed, fled to the UK after the Taliban captured Kabul in August.

Abdul said refugees in the hotel would be happier in a flat, and it would offer more value to the taxpayer.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

Abdul, a 26-year-old medical student who was born in Afghanistan, and his wife have been staying at Hilton London Metropole in Edgware Road, central London, since September.

He said: “If you look at the [hotel] website, it costs more than £100 per night, so that will add up to possibly £5,000 or £6,000 per month.

“If the government had provided us with a flat for example, then it would have been good for the taxpayer as well – £500 or £600 [per month].”

‘Lack of a plan’

Abdul said he felt there was “a lack of a comprehensive plan” for providing permanent accommodation to evacuees.

“Initially, when we moved to this place from the quarantine hotel, we were told it will not take more than 85 days [to find accommodation] but it has been more than 140, 150 days,” he said.

The Home Office has informed those living at the hotel their contract with Hilton London Metropole will end in March, but it has not informed them about alternative living arrangements.

The couple emphasised they were “grateful” to the UK government, but said they would prefer the “freedom” of a flat.

He added: “People are literally stuck in these rooms, they can’t cook, they are just living on takeaways.”

There are currently 25,000 asylum seekers and 12,000 Afghan refugees in hotels, the Home Office told the Home Affairs Committee on Wednesday. It is costing £4.7m a day, government figures show.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the policy is “thoroughly inadequate”.

She also said the government and local authorities are struggling to move Afghan refugees into permanent accommodation as the country does not have sufficient infrastructure.

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