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Cost to keep immigrants in detention

repost/ by the usual suspects | 03.09.2008 23:04 | Anti-racism | Globalisation | Migration

'The average direct budget cost for 2007/08 for operating each establishment in the immigration removal estate was £119 per bed space per day.'
Data obtained by NCADC under the Freedom of Information Act.
2500 innocent men women and children are detained in the UK at any given time and the government's plans are to increase detention spaces to 4000.
All the money ultimately comes from the taxes we pay. Who's good at maths?

Detention Services
9th Floor Green Park House
29 Wellesley Road
Croydon SurreyCR0 2AJ

John O
By email
3 September 2008
Ref: FOI 10000

Dear Mr O,

Thank you for your email dated 8 August regarding costs related to asylum seekers. Your request falls to be dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. You have asked the following:

‘What is the current average cost to public funds of an asylum seeker;

a) Detained in Immigration Removal Centre.
b) Resident in the community.’

In response to your first question, we do not differentiate between asylum seekers and other detainees held under immigration powers. The average direct budget cost for 2007/08 (most recent information available) for operating each establishment in the immigration removal estate was £119 per bed space per day.

With regards to your second question, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) holds some information about costs to public funds of asylum seekers but not the information you have requested. To attempt to produce the information in the format you have required would constitute creating data which we are not obliged to do under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act. Were we to attempt to create this information we would have to: (i) identify all the holders of data on public funds spent on asylum seekers and then commission and collate data from them (including but not limited to local authorities and health bodies across the UK), making checks to ensure costs were not double counted; (ii) obtain asylum seeker population figures from our own data sources; and (iii) combine the data from (i) and (ii) to provide an average.

As part of the Home Office, UKBA is not obliged to comply with any information request where the prescribed costs of supplying you with the information exceed £600. The £600 limit applies to all central government departments and is based on work being carried out at a rate of £25 per hour, which equates to 3 ½ days work per request. Prescribed costs include those which cover the cost of locating and retrieving information, and preparing our response to you. They do not include considering whether any information is exempt from disclosure, overheads such as heating or lighting, or disbursements such as photocopying or postage. We have estimated that the work involved to produce the cost data outlined at (i) in the preceding paragraph would exceed the £600 cost threshold. Moreover, the information on asylum seeker populations outlined in (ii) of the preceding paragraph cannot be produced from our data systems because the phasing out of embarkation controls in 1994 means that we cannot determine how many people have actually left the country but are not recorded on our systems as having departed.

Although your current request cannot be answered, if you refine it we will consider it further. For example, UKBA holds some information on the asylum support costs of those asylum seekers in receipt of asylum support. However, you should note that if any refined request would still require a calculation relating to the total asylum seeker population then we would not be able to provide the information for the reason set out above. Otherwise, if a refined request still exceeded the £600 cost threshold, for example because it required cost data to be gathered from a substantial number of sources or records, we may decline to answer.

Similarly, you should be aware that if you break down your request into a series of smaller requests we might, depending on the circumstances of the case, decline to answer if the aggregated costs of complying with it exceeds £600, as permitted by the Fees Regulations.

If you are dissatisfied with this response you may request an independent internal review of our handling of your request. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the UKBA sending a substantive reply to your original request and should be addressed to:

Head of Information Access Policy Team
UK Border Agency
11th Floor, Short Corridor
Lunar House
Wellesley Road

During the independent review the department’s handling of your information request will be reassessed by staff who were not involved in providing you with this response. Should you remain dissatisfied after this internal review, you will have a right of complaint to the Information Commissioner as established by Section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act.

Yours sincerely

David Goggin
Criminality and Detention Group
UK Border Agency

repost/ by the usual suspects