Britain has no room for refugees? What about these rooms?

Louis Dor
Saturday 05 September 2015 18:50
(Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Andy Burnham, following the lead of the Prime Minister of Finland, has offered up his house to refugees, after widespread attention to the refugee crisis.

These gestures made us wonder about official residences available to those in Government in the UK - which could possibly be otherwise used by refugees if vacant.

These are all grace and favour residences and as such the rent is paid largely by the state (i.e. us, the taxpayer).

10 Downing Street

This is the executive arm of government and the official residence of the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Number 10 contains roughly 100 rooms, mostly executive.


(Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

This is the official country house of the Prime Minister.

Chequers has ten bedrooms and backs on to a 10,000-acre estate.


(Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

This is the official residence of the Foreign Secretary.

Chevening is an 115-room mansion in the middle of a 3,500-acre estate.


(Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

This is a country home for a senior member of government as decided by the Prime Minister, currently used by Chancellor George Osborne.

The house is in a 215-acre estate and has 21 rooms, nine of which are bedrooms.

Speaker’s House

(Photo: NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)

This is a home in the Palace of Westminster and the official residence for the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Lord Speaker’s Apartments

Also in the Palace of Westminster, this is the home and the official residence for the Speaker of the House of Lords.

11 Downing Street, Westminster

(Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

This is the official residence of the Chancellor, although Tony Blair took residence in the building during his premiership due to the greater living space.

1 Carlton Gardens

(Photo: Gareth Williams/WikimediaCommons)

This is the official residence of the Foreign Secretary.

It contains state rooms and a self-contained two-floor residential apartment.

Admiralty House

(Photo: Steve Cadman/Wikimedia Commons)

This building contains three flats assigned to various ministers in recent years.

The four-storey building contains state rooms and residential flats.

Hillsborough Castle

(Photo by Brian Lawless - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

This is the official residence for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, although it is also used by other Northern Ireland ministers when on duty in the province.

It is also the official residence of the Royal Family in Ireland and has 98-acres of gardens. The state rooms have the capacity to act as a reception for 400 people.

All in all, we count at least 250 rooms, and that's not including a castle or the apartments of the Speaker or Lord Speaker. To put that into context, under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme, 216 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the UK. In the past week David Cameron said the UK would accept unspecified "thousands" of refugees in camps around Syria. We know a couple of places where they could move in to straight away...

More: Finland's prime minister says he will share his house with refugees

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