The Savoy is cheaper than the barge

The Savoy is cheaper than the barge

The Bibby Stockholm is costing more than the Savoy per head, per night

9 August 2023 – It is understood that there are 22 asylum-seekers currently on board the Bibby Stockholm barge at Portland Port. Using One Life to Live’s modelling of the costs of the barge, this means that the cost of an overnight stay on the barge, per head, is currently £2,330.07.

The Home Office is using the barge in order to “cut the cost” of accommodating asylum-seekers in hotels, where the current average cost is £109.80.

Clearly, therefore, moving people to the barge ISN’T so far saving the British taxpayer money. In fact, it would be cheaper to put the asylum-seekers up in a suite at the Savoy, with breakfast, and to treat them to a slap-up fish & chip supper at Langan’s brasserie. It is not known if the barge can ever reach its full intended cohort of 506 asylum-seekers, since it is understood that the barge has not been signed off as fire-safe.

The 7.5-week delay in getting people on board has also wasted £2,698,629.81 of taxpayers’ money.

The hotel suite at the Savoy

According to, at 580 sq ft and “quietly overlooking the courtyard or the city”, the hotel suite would be “decorated in elegant Edwardian or sophisticated Art Deco style… with an entrance foyer leading to a sitting-room, bedroom, and bathroom”. It would feature a well-stocked minibar and a coffee machine, along with free toiletries, a bathrobe and slippers. The suite costs £2,250 per night, with a ‘superb’ breakfast costing £40.00 – bringing the total overnight bed and breakfast stay to £2,290.

Dinner at Langan’s brasserie

The golden beer-battered fish & chips with tartare sauce and mushy peas costs £28.00, and hand-cut chips cost £6.50 – bringing the total meal to £34.50.

Comparison with the barge – costs per head, per night

  • Bed & board on the Bibby Stockholm (based on 22 people on board) = £2,330.07
  • Savoy Hotel suite + Savoy breakfast + dinner at Langan’s = £2,324.50
  • Saving if using the Savoy & Langan’s = £5.57

So there’d still be a fiver left for a bus back to the Savoy after dinner.

The overall daily cost of the barge is a minimum of £18,710, 500, although this does not yet include an array of costs which are known to exist but where the amounts are still unknown. Not least, the cost of dilapidations at the end of the contract, and the cost to the government of defending court cases including the judicial review (on planning grounds) to be brought by Portland’s mayor, Carralyn Parkes, as announced on 9 August 2023.

The government strategy failed before it began

The government’s entire strategy for the barge is that it is meant to be cheaper per head than hotels, although One Life To Live disproved this in a comprehensive briefing published on 11 July 2023. This took open-source data, FOI request responses, existing knowledge about other sites, and information from confidential sources to show that – with its full cohort of 506 asylum-seekers on board – the barge will cost MORE per head, per night, than hotels.

Using that data model, One Life To Live can calculate the barge costs for any number of inhabitants.

Online prices correct as at 9 August 2023 at and Langan’s.