Home Office spent thousands on Domino’s pizza for Channel migrants

Detention facility in Dover has been criticised as ‘manifestly unsuitable’

Liam James
Friday 08 October 2021 21:23
<p>Tug Haven facility was found ‘unsuitable’ for holding high number of migrants</p>

Tug Haven facility was found ‘unsuitable’ for holding high number of migrants

The Home Office spent thousands of pounds in one month on Domino's pizzas to feed migrants held after crossing the English Channel.

The Dover branch of the fast food chain in July supplied hundreds of pizzas to the Tug Haven detention facility, a site recently found to have been putting children at risk.

Government figures showed that Border Force spent £6,757.52 in five separate transactions at Domino's to provide food to the short-term holding site.

The largest order cost £1,824 and was used to feed migrants who had already been held for 12 hours and were expected to be held for another full day or more.

Another order, for £1,789, recorded on the disclosure log for Home Office procurement card transactions said: “Purchased by Clandestine Operational Response Team (Cort) for use at Tug Haven where we have migrants arriving on small boats.

“Due to the high number of migrants arriving and the length of time they had not eaten, it was agreed to purchase 200 pizzas.”

Three other Domino's pizza orders — for £1,274, £1,000 and £870 — were listed as “hot food for migrants who had to stay overnight at Tug Haven”.

Staff at the Domino's branch said they could not discuss the orders when contacted by the PA news agency. A Home Office spokesperson said: “We ensure all spending is carefully scrutinised to make sure that every pound of taxpayers’ money is spent in the most effective way.”

Hundreds of pounds was spent on other provisions such as tea, coffee, milk and other refreshments for migrants at Tug Haven.

The Dover facility has been found to be unsuitable for holding the number of migrants arriving over the channel. An Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) report on Friday also said Tug Haven was not suitable for children or vulnerable people.

Migrants were initially held in tents and portacabins that were “manifestly unsuitable for holding detainees overnight” at the overstretched site. Some were held on a double-decker bus.

Two Kent facilities where migrants were sent after Tug Haven were also found to be unsuitable by the IMB.

At least 3,510 migrants crossed to the UK from France in July with hundreds arriving in one day several times, according to the Home Office. The highest number was recorded on 19 July, when there were 430 arrivals.

Last year a watchdog said Tug Haven “resembled a rubble-strewn building site”.

The then chief inspector of prisons, Peter Clarke, said: “Just because numbers are unprecedented, that does not mean they are unpredictable, or cannot be planned for”, adding that the arrangements at Tug Haven were not fit for even small numbers of arrivals.

Since the start of the year more than 17,000 migrants have succeeded in reaching the UK, double the figure for the whole of 2020. The government has introduced a bill to tackle the figures, making it illegal to enter Britain without clearance.

The UN Human Rights Council said the bill would violating international law and told the government the numbers were small in a global perspective.

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