Private jail costs ' pounds 1m a year extra'
Thursday 16 June 1994
The Wolds, a purpose-built prison for 320 adult remand prisoners in Humberside, is expected to cost the Prison Service pounds 25.18m to run over five years. Group 4 won the tender to run it from 1992 at a cost of pounds 21.5m.
The director-general of the Prison Service, Derek Lewis, told the Commons Public Accounts Committee that in 1993-94, payments made to Group 4 for running the Wolds were pounds 5.98m.
George Mudie, Labour MP for Leeds East and a member of the committee, said afterwards: 'It's gone up from pounds 21.5m over five years to more than pounds 28m.
'They were not the lowest tender (the lowest was pounds 19.5m) . . .
They have deliberately, either through incompetence or other reasons, hidden other costs so that comparisons look good.'
A report in March by the Comptroller and Auditor General found the average operating cost per prisoner at Wolds was expected to be less than pounds 350 a week, compared with the pounds 494 a week average for the Prison Service.
Mr Lewis told the committee that in addition to the pounds 21.5m contract, operating costs had to be added, including maintenance of pounds 500,000 a year.
A Treasury spokesman said it was still too early to quantify the difference in value for money between the Wolds and other prisons.
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