Sunday, February 21, 2016

Hotel firm benefits from putting up hundreds of asylum seekers on the taxpayer as its profits soar by 400% to £14million

  • Britannia Hotels saw its profits soar to £14million in the 2014/15 year
  • During this time 17 of its hotels housed asylum seekers, it is claimed
  • The company is used by private companies contracted by the Home Office
  • Dozens of paying guests have posted scathing reviews on TripAdvisor
  • They say hotels are like a 'hostel' for 'intimidating' groups of refugees
A budget hotel chain paid with taxpayer funds to house asylum seekers has seen its profits soar to £14million in the past financial year.
Britannia Hotels, owned by multi-millionaire Alex Langsam, was twice ranked by Which? as Britain's worst hotel group and regularly receives negative TripAdvisor reviews from paying customers.
But despite this, the company continues to do a good trade on the back of government-contracted firms tasked with housing migrants.
Uncertain future: Two of the asylum seekers at Stockport's Britannia Hotel, where many have been put up
Uncertain future: Two of the asylum seekers at Stockport's Britannia Hotel, where many have been put up
The Britannia Hotel in Stockport is raking in taxpayers’ money for rooms that might otherwise be empty
The Britannia Hotel in Stockport is raking in taxpayers’ money for rooms that might otherwise be empty
Britannia Hotels, owned by Alex Langsam, was twice ranked by Which? as Britain's worst hotel group
Britannia Hotels, owned by Alex Langsam, was twice ranked by Which? as Britain's worst hotel group
According to an investigation by the Sun on Sunday's Matt Wilkinson, 17 hotels within the Britannia chain housed asylum seekers during the 2014/15 period that saw its profits rise to £14million.
Accounts showed its pre-tax profit during this time was £14.2million, up from £2.6million the previous year, the paper reported.
The Home Office has a £175million fund to house asylum seekers and has contracted private companies Serco, G4S and Clearel to do so on its behalf.
Serco has previously stated it uses budget hotels on a 'short term basis' to house asylum seekers until alternative accommodation is found.
Britannia Hotels' three-star facility in Stockport boasts of champagne breaks for £99 and a spa with hot tub, sauna, steam room and gym.
Last week one person wrote on TripAdvisor they would 'never' stay in the Greater Manchester hotel again.
Alex Langsam (pictured), is the boss of Britannia Hotels, which were twice ranked the worst hotel chain in the country
Alex Langsam (pictured), is the boss of Britannia Hotels, which were twice ranked the worst hotel chain in the country
They added: 'Discovered from taxi driver when he picked us up that the dodgy looking clients which were wondering around the corridors were refuges. Hotel could have said something when [we were] booking.'
Another wrote: 'The majority of occupants seem to be asylum seekers, very intimidating!
'Crowds of them congregating in all main parts watching your every move! I'd hate to be elderly and have to stay here cause [sic] I'd be very frightened!'
In November last year, a guest complained the restaurant only caters for asylum seekers, 'so unless you are prepared to order a bar snack and eat it off your lap you cannot eat comfortable at a table'.
Around the same time, a disgruntled customer described the hotel as a 'hostel for refugees'.
However, the complaints are not just limited to the Stockport hotel - the Britannia in Wigan has also suffered a backlash from customers.
On January 6, a customer wrote: 'The problem is the refugees that are being held in the hotel, all men too?
'They wander avoid the hotel waiting to be called by the officials in the reception area? It was very frightening and intimidating.'
In November, one guest said the noisy asylum seekers were 'banging all night as they are in and out of each other's rooms', adding it was 'like being in a student hall of residence'.
That same month, another wrote: 'The corridors of the hotel were filled with refugees sitting on the floors, hanging out of doors and the cigarette smoke was awful. No ventilation and everyone smoking, in a supposedly no smoking hotel.'
When contacted, Britannia Hotels directed MailOnline to its head office, where phone calls went straight to voicemail.
Serco has also been contacted by MailOnline.

Britannia Hotels boss saves Pontin's

A Jewish businessman has stepped in to save holiday camp company Pontin’s from collapse and secure the jobs of its staff.
The 65-year-old company, which went into administration in November, has been bought by the Britannia Hotel Group, owned by Hale-based property developer Alex Langsam.
Mr Langsam’s decision means that 850 Pontin’s employees will be able to keep their jobs.
Mr Langsam, 72, opened his first hotel in Manchester in 1976. The son of Viennese Jews who came to Britain to escape the Nazis, he now owns 36 hotels across Britain, including the historic Adelphi in Liverpool.
He told the Guardian that his father’, the “most nationalistic person” he knew, had inspired him to preserve Britain’s history. “He said: "Britain saved his life and gave him a living and he instilled that in me. I am grateful for what this country has given me."
Worth £64 million, Mr Langsam is believed to have paid £20 million to buy the failing company.
He said he considered the prospects for Pontin's to be “very exciting” and that the much-loved company would remain “a national treasure”.
He added: “Our plans will take shape without delay as we look towards developing a bright future whilst retaining the best traditions of the past. Pontin's will remain a national treasure, to be enjoyed by generations to come."
http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/45549/britannia-hotels-boss-saves-pontins 

22 comments:

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