A hotelier in the U.K. has rejected an offer in excess of £1 million from an agency acting on behalf of the Home Office to convert his hotel into accommodation for asylum seekers, it has emerged.
Richard Martin, who owns the 3-star Blazing Donkey Country Hotel in Sandwich, Kent, revealed he had been offered £1,080,000 and a guarantee of 100 percent occupancy for at least 12 months at the hotel if he permitted it to be used exclusively to house asylum seekers.
The hotel boss said he turned down the proposal as he “couldn’t think of anything more absurd.” He explained that he would have had to lay off staff at the restaurant and cancel hundreds of weddings booked at the venue.
“We spent 30 years building up the business, but the money doesn’t come into it,” Martin told local media outlet Kent Online.
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“We didn’t consider the offer (…) at all, as our reputation would have been shattered overnight.
“Quite honestly, my wife and I felt repulsed and very angry that they would think I would ever consider it,” he added.
Martin said he “could not believe they even approached us, as the agency acting on behalf of the Home Office “must have known” that to convert the accommodation into a facility for asylum seekers would result in the redundancy of some staff and canceling hundreds of weddings.
There are now over 200 hotels across the U.K. who have accepted contracts to house asylum seekers at a cost of £7 million per day to the U.K. taxpayer.
Martin accused the government of “effectively becoming disruptors in the hotel industry” and added that he hopes “no other hotelier in the county worth their salt considers this sly approach.”