Question to the Home Office:
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment her Department has made of the (a) estimated cost and (b) suitability of accommodating asylum seekers on the MS Victoria cruise ship in Leith.
Cost information is prospective and commercially sensitive, and as such is not available to be released. Our proposal was to use the same berth, the same quayside infrastructure and the same principal contractor that was put in place by Scottish Government officials. Furthermore, this is the same vessel used by the Scottish Government. The Home Office also proposed introducing new financial incentives for local authorities to encourage the uptake of dispersal accommodation and delivering large accommodation sites that will produce safe and secure accommodation for thousands of asylum seekers.
The Home Office met with representatives of Scottish government and Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) on several occasions in May to discuss the possibility of placing a vessel in Leith to accommodate asylum seekers.
The last Multi-Agency Forums (MAF) were held on the 22nd June. We are committed to work closely with all local authorities and stakeholders through MAF meetings to address any concerns of the local community and reduce the impact on local services.
If you would like to put forward specific proposals, please do contact the Home Office at: firstname.lastname@example.org and officials will happily discuss this in greater detail with you.