The Bishop of Leicester received the following written answers on 27th March 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Leicester asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the cost of using and converting (1) RAF Scampton, (2) MDP Wethersfield, (3) the Northeye site, and (4) the Bibby Stockholm barge for asylum-seeker accommodation; and what assessment they have made of the value of the contracts to the agencies managing these sites.
Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con, Home Office): The United Kingdom has a legal obligation to provide asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute with accommodation and other support whilst their claim for asylum is being considered.
Ongoing work across government is being undertaken to identify and secure alternative, more appropriate, cost-effective accommodation options around the country. In exploring potential alternative large sites, we continue to consider all available options to source appropriate and cost-effective temporary accommodation.
The Lord Bishop of Leicester asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the costs of implementing the recommendations made in the report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration 2021, An inspection of asylum casework (August 2020–May 2021), published on 18 November 2021.
Lord Murray of Blidworth: The Home office welcomes the recommendations made in the report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration 2021 “An inspection of asylum casework”; and we are taking immediate action to accelerate decision-making and rapidly speed up processing times to eliminate the backlog of people waiting for initial asylum decisions by the end of 2023.
Costs related to implementing the recommendations made in the report have not been assessed independently from the wider costs of the asylum system.
Asylum costs are detailed in the Home Office Annual Report and Accounts, with the most recent Annual Report and Accounts for 2021 to 2022 published on 14 July 2022 and available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/home-office-annual-report-and-accounts-2021-to-2022
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