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UK Government deletes report calling asylum barge ‘discriminatory’

29 Dec 2023 2 minute read
Photo issued by Bibby Marine Ltd of the Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge

Official assessments that found housing asylum seekers on a barge and former airbase was discriminatory were published by mistake.

The impact assessment, which found the policy of housing asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm barge discriminated on the grounds of age and sex, was deleted from the Government’s website on Friday, two days after being published.

A note on the website said the impact assessment was “published in error”.

Impact assessment

An impact assessment that made similar findings for the former RAF Wethersfield, in Essex, was also removed from the Government’s website on Friday, a day after being published.

The Government has previously declined to publish an equality impact assessment for the Bibby Stockholm.

In September, then-immigration minister Robert Jenrick, in response to a written parliamentary question, told Labour MP Zarah Sultana such assessments were “for internal use” and “not routinely published”.

The assessment published on Wednesday found that the policy of housing up to 500 single men on the barge, currently moored at Portland in Dorset, was “directly discriminating in relation to age (and) sex” because the barge is only suitable for men aged 18 to 65.


However, the document noted that the Equality Act allows for such discrimination if it is “justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.

The assessment argued that the greater need to house male asylum seekers within that age range in accommodation other than hotels justified discriminating on the grounds of age and sex.

The impact assessment for the former Wethersfield airbase drew similar conclusions.

Housing asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm and at Wethersfield has drawn opposition from campaigners, who have criticised conditions at both locations as “prison-like”.

Charlotte Khan, head of advocacy and public affairs at refugee charity Care4Calais, said: “The public have a right to know how our Government are treating the survivors of war, torture and modern slavery.

“Deleting the equality impact assessments from the Home Office website may remove an official watermark from the Government’s mistreatment of asylum seekers but, everyday, behind the barbed wire fences, people’s health and wellbeing is suffering from being held in these prison-like barges and camps.”

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

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6 months ago

The barges were never going to be a viable option, much as Rwanda is not. It is red meat to the knuckle draggers goose stepping around the Tory party.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
6 months ago

It’s encouraging to know that the Tories DO know what wrongdoing is when they have to delete the evidence of their own actions. The trouble is there is no such thing as a morality transplant so they’ll never be able to get one. It’s up to us, the electorate, to cut out the cancer.

6 months ago

It makes me wonder the way the current Tory party is and some of Labour, that it wasn’t uploaded on purpose. To see if it got the reaction they wanted or at least set a mood of hate. Because right now the tories seem willing to be far more obvious in their real feelings than ever before. And parts of LAbour want those nasty votes.

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