A TOWN is splashing out £1.5 MILLION a year to furnish plush flats for asylum seekers, the News of the World can reveal. More than £3,000 a year is spent kitting out each of about 500 flats for newly arrived immigrants — despite severe poverty in the area.
Taxpayers' cash is spent on swanky beds, carpets, fridge-freezers, cookers, microwaves and even ASH TRAYS. The makeovers are part of a scheme to improve living conditions for asylum seekers in Rochdale, Lancs. Faced with more than 500 people a year flooding in from Africa, eastern Europe and Asia, the borough council's Asylum Seeker Support Unit decided to roll out the red carpet. It called in a local furnishing company to help in some of the town's poorest areas. Workers at the Lanebottom Industrial Equitable Pioneers Society, who secured the lucrative contract, were stunned. One whistle-blower said: "We'd furnish about 500 flats a year at least. A minimum of £3,000 was spent on each and it was all good quality stuff. "I turned up on some jobs and the asylum seekers were waiting for us with a list of what they wanted. "I was disgusted. It's one thing giving these people a roof over their head but it's a different matter when you turn it into a palace for them. "When the furniture was being carried in, they were grinning from ear to ear. It was a joke. Dozens of flats ended up being trashed in weeks but the furniture just got replaced. "It's an absolute disgrace that if you're a taxpayer and have worked hard all your life you get no help." Another firm has taken over since Lanebottom folded two months ago, but we have seen documents which reveal the scale of council spending. One asylum seeker we spoke to was very happy with her flat. "They put new carpets in and gave me new furniture, a fridge and a cooker," she said. "I think my friends back home in Ethiopia would like it here too." Rochdale council confirmed it has a Home Office contract to support newly arrived refugees for a short period. It disputed our figures, but refused to discuss confidential details.