Reigate loses Diego Garcia housing case

The High Court has ruled that Reigate and Banstead Borough Council
must continue to house more than 30 people from Diego Garcia, an
Indian Ocean island.

Mr Justice Moses said the group had “scrimped and saved” for years
to afford the airfare to the UK from Mauritius, where their
families had been forced to move after they were ejected by the
British to make room for a US airbase.

The council objects to paying for the group’s accommodation,
arguing that the government should pay.

Justice Moses said he had sympathy for the council but was
satisfied that it should continue to pay pending further hearings.
But council leader Joan Spiers said it was “unacceptable” that the
authority should meet the housing costs.

“We are a small authority that is not geared up to dealing with an
influx of homelessness applicants. The 31 applications we dealt
with in a day is the amount we would expect to deal with in a
month,” she said.

She added that the council had been put under “incredible and
financial resource strain”.

Last month the High Court cleared West Sussex Council of any
responsibility for supporting new arrivals from the island (news,
page 16, 21 October).

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