Home Office statement on the Bibby Stockholm.
A Home Office spokesperson said:
"From today, we are beginning to move people back on to the Bibby Stockholm in Portland. All necessary tests including health, fire and water checks have been completed, and are all satisfactory.
"The number of people on board will increase gradually with more arrivals in the coming days and months, as part of a carefully structured, phased approach.
“This is part of the government’s pledge to reduce the use of expensive hotels and bring forward alternative accommodation options which provide a more cost effective, sustainable and manageable system for the UK taxpayer and local communities.”
- Accommodation is offered to asylum seekers on a no-choice basis and any asylum seeker who refuses accommodation may have their government support withdrawn.
- The use of vessels is a tried and tested approach that mirrors that taken by our European neighbours and the Scottish Government and offers better value for the British taxpayer.
- The Bibby Stockholm will be operational for at least 18 months and stay berthed in the port during that time.
- Dorset Council is receiving £3,500 per occupied bedspace. In addition, funding is being provided to the local NHS and police this financial year to help minimise the impact on local services. There is an on-site primary health service to reduce the impact on local NHS services.
- The Bibby Stockholm has previously safely and comfortably housed workers from various industries, including shipyard workers, construction workers and offshore construction workers.
- The capacity of the Bibby Stockholm remains 504. The number of asylum seekers onboard the vessel at any one time is likely to vary due to a number of factors, including individuals exiting the asylum system once a decision has been made.
- CTM has contracted Landry & Kling to run the vessel on behalf of the Home Office. They also ran the two vessels used by the Scottish Government to house Ukrainian refugees in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
- The Home Office has scrutinised the accommodation sites’ value for money compared to hotels. It is clear that the sites are cheaper than hotel accommodation for asylum seekers.
- The government is under a legal obligation to provide support, usually including accommodation, to asylum seekers who would be otherwise be destitute.
- To reduce hotel use the Home Office is also making sure that asylum seekers routinely share hotel rooms with at least one person where appropriate, in order to make progress on work to reduce the use of hotels and minimise the impact on communities while we stand up these alternatives sites.
- The Prime Minister and the government have been repeatedly clear that there is more to do to stop the boats and we are now going even further through our Illegal Migration Act to make sure that people who come here illegally won’t have their asylum claim considered in the UK and instead can be detained and swiftly removed.