Since 2000, asylum seekers have been sent to temporary accommodation around the country in a “dispersal” policy which aims to spread the numbers out of London and the south east due to existing pressure on services in and around the capital.
But many are placed in some of the poorest areas of deprived towns due to the supply of cheap, vacant housing.
Now, local councils in northern England, Scotland and Wales are at the top of the table for having the highest concentration of asylum seekers.
In 2012, accommodation for asylum seekers was contracted out to Serco, G4S and Clearel, with the Government hoping to make budget savings of £140 million over seven years.
Some local authorities, which did not get involved with asylum accommodation in the early 2000s when some councils did bid for Home Office contracts, still have relatively low numbers of asylum seekers.
This may change if calls to spread the dispersal more evenly across all local authorities are heeded.