A city MP has taken aim at her own government as she welcomed Home Office plans to phase out the use of refugee hotels.

Downing Street has written to MPs and councils to inform them of plans to "exit" the first asylum hotels, immigration minister Robert Jenrick has announced.

Norwich Evening News: The Brook Hotel in BowthorpeThe Brook Hotel in Bowthorpe (Image: Newsquest)

The controversial policy saw the Brook Hotel in Bowthorpe and the Holiday Inn Express in Hellesdon taken over by the Home Office to temporarily house people seeking asylum.

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Outgoing Norwich North MP Chloe Smith welcomed the decision to phase out the use of public hotels, while also taking a swipe at ministers for rolling out the scheme in the first place.

"We are a welcoming city to people in their hour of need, but this policy is not fair on anyone," she said. 

Norwich Evening News: Norwich North MP Chloe SmithNorwich North MP Chloe Smith (Image: PA)

"It’s costing millions of pounds and has a direct impact on our local economy.

"I’ve questioned the Home Office many times to establish how the hotel is being used and how asylum seekers are being supported in Norwich.

"I hold the Home Office to their word that Norwich’s hotels were only for short-term use, and I’m glad to hear today’s progress on reducing the number of asylum claims.

"I will stay on the case."

Norwich Evening News: Immigration minister Robert JenrickImmigration minister Robert Jenrick (Image: PA)

Mr Jenrick said hotel contracts would end in "all four nations of the UK" in the coming months as his plan to cut asylum claims was "starting to work".

Around 400 hotels were being used to house record numbers of asylum seekers - with contracts costing the taxpayer roughly £8m a day.

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“The return of these hotels is needed for our local economy," added Ms Smith. 

"That means simple things like visitors being able to enjoy Norwich and spend money here, and local people able to book weddings once again with local businesses and workers benefiting through the supply chain.

"Constituents will also welcome less strain on local services.

Norwich Evening News: The Holiday Inn in HellesdonThe Holiday Inn in Hellesdon (Image: Google Maps)

"It is right to find other types of accommodation to help those genuinely in need.”

David Thomas, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Norwich South, also welcomed the announcement.

“I have heard a great deal of concern from local residents about how housing asylum seekers in Norwich hotels places strain on local services whilst hitting business by taking good hotel rooms off the market," he said. 

Norwich Evening News: Parliamentary candidate for Norwich North David ThomasParliamentary candidate for Norwich North David Thomas (Image: Norwich Conservatives)

"I am also concerned for the welfare of those seeking asylum, who deserve to have their case decided quickly rather than to stay in limbo in a hotel.

"I’m therefore very pleased to see the progress we are making on clearing the backlog and improving the efficiency of the asylum system, for everyone’s benefit.”