We aren't spending £36m just to close the Calais 'jungle'

Published: 25th Oct 2016

In brief

Claim

The UK will spend £36 million on efforts to close the Calais “Jungle” camp

Conclusion

The UK has committed £36 million and some of this money will be used to close the camp, but it’s also being spent on border security and keeping child migrants safe.

“Britain picks up £36 million bill for closure of the Jungle - money comes on top of £80million to pay for security guards in French ports”.

Daily Mail, 24 October 2016

It’s correct that the UK is paying £36 million, but this isn’t just to clear the ‘Jungle’ camp.

In a statement yesterday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said that the UK will pay up to £36 million “to maintain the security of these [juxtaposed] controls, to support the camp clearance and to ensure in the long term that the camp is kept closed. This funding will also be used to help keep children safe in France”.

The Home Secretary also clarified that around £14 million of this money is for security around the Calais port.

Juxtaposed controls are the system of border security checks in place on French and Belgian soil to screen Britain-bound passengers before they enter the UK.

But what about the other £80 million?

The £80 million figure quoted by the Mail as the cost of security guards at French ports refers to money it says is “pledged… to pay private security firms to patrol ports in northern France for three years.”

This refers to an advertisement posted by the Home Office in July looking for a security contractor “to support its operational activities in the Eurotunnel Terminal at Coquelles and the ports of Calais and Dunkerque [Dunkirk]”.

The estimated value of this contract was put at £80 million, excluding VAT, over three years.

The ad mentions vehicle and passenger searching, detention and “escorting services” as part of the job description. The advert also says that detention of individuals would last for no longer than three hours and only until the detainee could be handed over to Border Force officers.

The Home Office told us that this isn’t directly related to the clearance of the Calais camp and associated security surrounding that. Instead it’s the renewal of a longstanding security contract to police the area.

It also told us that £80 million is the maximum value the contract could be worth, but it’s expected to be significantly less than that.

So how much has this government contributed to support border security across the Channel?

In 2015/2016 the government contributed £63 million to security around Calais and the Channel Tunnel. That included money for “extra fencing and infrastructure, security guards, search dogs and detection technology.”

In March it also announced another £17 million would be spent on “priority security infrastructure in Calais and to move people from the camps in Calais to facilities elsewhere in France, and will fund joint work to return migrants not in need of protection to their home countries.”

One example of infrastructure this funding covers is the wall being built at Calais which has been widely reported on.


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