“Floating prison” – this is what critics say about the latest idea of the British government to solve the problem with the influx of immigrants. A giant barge has moored off the coast of Great Britain, which will soon become the home of hundreds of immigrants. They will be waiting there for the results of the asylum procedure. This is to allow the government to save money on their accommodation and reassure local communities.
At first glance, it looks a bit like a block of flats and a bit like a cruise ship. It’s just that there are no luxuries, no privacy, no holiday atmosphere. It is a barge with residential containers that can accommodate half a thousand tenants. There are three “floors”.
The barge was hired by the British government to house migrants awaiting asylum applications. It has just arrived in the south of Great Britain and has landed off the Portland Peninsula.
‘For every bed occupied on that barge, the council will get £3,500 from the government. The government will also allocate more than £350,000 in one lump sum to English lessons and extra activities for migrants, Sky News’ Dan Whitehead said.
Small, originally single cabins will be occupied by two or three people. There is a shop on the barge, there is also an exercise area and a medical point. The first 50 migrants are due to live there in a few weeks. They will be only single men aged 18 to 65. Officially, they are not deprived of liberty and can go to the mainland at any time. The asylum procedure should not take longer than half a year, so that is the maximum that migrants will live on the barge.
The British government wants to fight the influx of migrants
Many Portland residents fear the presence of several hundred migrants. Others call the barge a “floating prison”.
“There were consultations with the city council, with the police, with the health service and they all unequivocally objected, but the Home Office completely ignored the position of the local community,” said Kate Robson, a Portland resident of the No to Barge Initiative. “It’s obvious that the barge will be extremely crowded, and we have to remember that refugees have already been through traumatic experiences,” said Lynne Hubbard, a Portland resident of the Stand Up to Racism Initiative.
Renting a barge is part of a wider program of the British government, which wants to fight the influx of migrants. In April, the House of Commons passed a bill blocking the granting of asylum to people who entered the UK illegally. It is mainly about people who cross the English Channel on small boats. Rishi Sunak’s government wants to deport them automatically without appeal. Last year, 45,000 people came to the UK this way.
– We currently spend £6m a day on hotel accommodation. The cost of handling asylum seekers is £3 billion a year. This can no longer be sustained and that is why the Prime Minister and I have decided that we will do everything possible to stop the boats coming in and stop more problems,” Home Secretary Suella Braverman said.
The barge was previously used to accommodate workers, people in crisis of homelessness and oil rig workers. The government in London also considered placing migrants on military bases.
Facts about the world TVN24 BiS
Main photo source: Enex