Ministers urged to reveal true cost of Bibby Stockholm barge

Home Secretary Suella Braverman is urged to reveal true cost of housing asylum seekers on Bibby Stockholm after Labour estimated it costs £800 per migrant per night

Suella Braverman was today urged to reveal the true cost of housing asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm barge after a Labour estimate put the cost at more than £800 per migrant per night. 

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick has promised that once the vessel is at full capacity it will be a ‘cheaper form of accommodation’ than hotels, which are currently costing taxpayers £8million a day.

Yet the Home Office has repeatedly refused to reveal how much it will pay to house asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm – making it impossible to back up the claim with accurate statistics. 

Labour has quoted contract documents seen by i News that show the government is leasing the barge for £300,000 per week. As of Tuesday there were 50 people on the barge, Mr Jenrick said – which would equate to £820 per person per night. 

The Home Office has pointed out that the barge’s full capacity is 504, suggesting that this cost would fall in the future. But today, campaigners urged ministers to publish specific numbers. 

Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Robert Jenrick, the Immigration Minister, leave a Cabinet meeting earlier this week 

The Home Office has repeatedly refused to reveal how much it will pay to house asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm barge (seen on October 19) 

Callum McGoldrick, researcher at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told MailOnline: ‘Taxpayers deserve to know the extent of these costs. 

‘The enormous hotel bill is clearly unsustainable, and the government must find cost effective alternatives.

READ MORE – The £60M ‘migrant hotel king’: Caravan park tycoon’s firm records a fortune in profits after taxpayers handed it £3.5m-a-DAY last year 

‘If the Bibby Stockholm is exactly that, then ministers can surely publish the price tag.’ 

Ministers this week announced that small boat migrants will longer be housed in luxury, country house-style hotels once they arrive in Britain and will be moved to cheaper motel-style properties instead .

Mr Jenrick on Tuesday announced plans to move migrants out of 50 hotels by the end of January, increasing to 100 by the end of March.

In August more than 50,000 Channel migrants were in 400 hotels at a cost of £8million a day.

‘We are getting the most egregious examples of luxurious hotels off our books first,’ a government source said.

‘The country manor houses and the stately home-style properties will be the first to go.

‘We’ve been very clear that we can’t let this drag on any more. It’s been a complete disgrace.’

Last year the Mail reported how migrants were housed at ‘Downton Abbey-style’ four-star Stoke Rochford Hall, near Grantham in Lincolnshire. It has previously been advertised as a luxury Victorian country mansion.

A group of asylum seekers carry their luggage onto the Bibby Stockholm last week  

The government has vowed to move small boat migrants from luxury hotels, such as the Grosvenor Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

During a parliamentary debate Sir Edward Leigh, a Conservative MP in the county, said the hotel normally charged £400 a night, and described its use by the Home Office as a ‘farce’.

Labour came up with its £800 per night. estimate for the cost of housing migrants on the Bibby Stockholm on Tuesday.  

READ MORE – Fifty migrant hotels will reopen to the public, says immigration minister Robert Jenrick 

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Jenrick said the figure was ‘completely wrong’ adding: ‘As soon as it [the barge] is at full capacity, then it will be better value for money than a hotel.’ 

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: ‘The Conservatives have broken our asylum system and are wasting ever more taxpayers’ money on expensive barges and hotels because they’ve failed to get any grip. Instead of tackling the problem, they just keep making the costs worse.

‘Labour has pledged to end all asylum hotel use by clearing the asylum backlog, with more caseworkers and a new Returns Unit, to save the taxpayer £2 billion. The British public want to see strong border security and a properly controlled and fair asylum system, and that’s what Labour’s plan will deliver.’

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘These figures are inaccurate. The pressure on the asylum system has continued to grow. 

‘This is why we continue to source new alternative sites and vessels to accommodate migrants as our European neighbours are doing.

‘This is more manageable for communities and offers better value for the British taxpayer than expensive hotels. Doing nothing is not an option.’

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