THE Royal Borough’s council leader said he’s considering taking legal action against the Home Office’s proposed plans that compels all local authorities to take in asylum seekers.

The government is considering a new scheme to stop housing asylum seekers in hotels by expanding the use of the private rental sector – requiring all councils to house asylum seekers.

This is in a bid to fix the “broken” asylum system and save the Home Office millions of pounds. The plans, which are currently in the consultation phase, would also give local authorities a £3,500-per-bed funding boost.

But council leaders across the country have voiced concerns, believing local authorities will be forced to enter into a bidding war with the Home Office for the privately rented housing they need to house their homeless.

Councils such as Birmingham, Walsall, Wolverhampton, and more have said they are poised to take legal action if this decision goes ahead. And the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council leader Andrew Johnson (Con: Hurley & Walthams) said he is considering legal action too.

READ MORE: Windsor & Maidenhead "doing more than its fair share" to house asylum seekers

Speaking at a public meeting in Datchet on Wednesday, September 7, Cllr Johnson said: “I think the Home Office genuinely needs to think again and they need to get a grip.

“But if they are going to do this, then they need genuine consultation with councils, give out a fair portion of asylum seekers per local authority area and at the moment we’ve got more than we should have, and we need an appropriate support package.”

He added: “If I even get the slightest hint that we will be significantly disadvantaged and we won’t get all the support needed, will I look at legal challenge? Absolutely I will and I think it’s the right thing to do.”

The meeting took place a week after the Home Office took over the Manor Hotel in Datchet to house asylum seekers, sparking anti-social behaviour fears from residents.

Slough Observer: The Manor Hotel in DatchetThe Manor Hotel in Datchet (Image: Google Maps)

The council insisted this is a Home Office decision and only notified the Royal Borough about this less than 48 hours without any consultation.

Cllr Johnson vented his frustration over the decision, saying the hotel is an “unsuitable location” and is “unfair” that the Royal Borough is taking a “disproportionate share” of asylum seekers.

He also said this will add pressure to services and on its budget – with no reimbursement from the government.

The recently appointed Home Sectary Suella Braverman has received a letter from Cllr Johnson, urging her to rethink the decision to house asylum seekers at the Manor Hotel.

READ MORE: The Manor hotel, Datchet: Home Office takes over site for asylum seekers

Cllr Johnson said: “I will continue to make the case to ministers in exactly the way I said to Priti Patel [former Home Secretary] to her face that she needed to get a grip on the situation, and it was unfair on cash-strapped local authorities to have to pick up the slack on this.

“We have lots of other priorities, including looking after those people locally who are destitute, homeless, vulnerable, and the rest of it, without having to deal with government-related issues as well.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are dealing with an unprecedented increase in asylum cases but despite this we continue to ensure that the accommodation provided is safe, secure and leaves no one destitute.

“The Home Office does not comment on operational arrangements for individual hotels.”