A disclosure log for Home Office procurement card transactions has revealed that UK Immigration Enforcement spent £6,757.52 on Domino’s pizzas to feed migrants arriving in the UK from France via the Channel. According to an analysis of Home Office spending conducted by the PA Agency, hundreds of pizzas were bought from the Dover branch of Domino’s in July.
It’s understood that the takeaway pizzas were provided while migrants were being held at Tug Haven – a short-term holding facility located in Dover where Channel migrants are first taken from the beach or sea.
The most single expensive entry recorded for the month of July was £1,824. An explanation given by the Home Office for the huge bill, said: “This was an urgent need to feed a large number of migrants that had been on the Tug Haven compound in Dover for over 12 hours, and were likely to stay over 24 hours due to issues blocking their movement with resources and the IRC (Immigration Removal Centre) estate.”
Time without eating
Meanwhile, an explanation for a £1,789 cost that was logged, stated: “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.”
According to the logs, a further three orders were placed by UK Immigration Enforcement with Domino’s totalling £1,274.25, £1,000 and £820.27, which were listed as ‘hot food for migrants who had to stay overnight at Tug Haven’.
However, the dates the purchases were made and the total number of pizzas ordered were not disclosed in the logs and the Home Office stated that it could not provide the information. Meanwhile, staff at the Domino’s branch in Dover said they would not comment on the matter.
The orders placed came in a month when at least 3,510 migrants arrived in the UK after making the perilous journey across the Channel from France, according to official figures. On multiple occasions throughout July, several hundred migrants were arriving each day. The highest recorded number was 430 on 19 July.
Since the start of 2021, more than 17,000 migrants have reached UK shores, which is double the number that arrived in 2020.
Several other costs logged by the Home Office show money being spent on items such as tea, coffee, milk and other refreshments for migrants, bought at the Booker cash and carry wholesaler in Folkestone.
Records show that £3,690 was spent on sun hats as requested by unions for staff and migrants at Tug Haven. A further £3,229.76 was spent on blankets.
A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “We are committed to delivering the best value for money for the British taxpayer. We ensure all spending is carefully scrutinised to make sure that every pound of taxpayers’ money is spent in the most effective way.”
Tug Haven criticised
In 2020, a watchdog described the Tug Haven immigrant holding facility as a ‘rubble-strewn building site’.
According to inspectors, migrants almost always arrived wet and cold at the facility and then often had to spend hours in the open air or cramped containers.
The chief inspector of prisons at the time, Peter Clarke, said: “Just because numbers are unprecedented, that does not mean they are unpredictable, or cannot be planned for.”
Mr Clarke claimed that Tug Haven was not even equipped to accommodate a small number of migrants.
At the time, the Home Office said: “We are fully adhering to our statutory duties to ensure facilities are decent and humane. We take the welfare of people in our care extremely seriously.”
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