Over 60 charities insist on the shutdown of the Bibby Stockholm barge.

MPs and charities have expressed concern over the treatment of asylum seekers aboard the Bibby Stockholm barge, after a suspected suicide occurred there this week. More than 60 charities have signed a letter published in the Guardian, calling for the immediate closure of the barge. The signatories, including Refugee Action, Refugee Council, Care4Calais, and Refugees at Home, along with Labour MPs Nadia Whittome, Kim Johnson, and Olivia Blake, stated that the conditions on the barge are reminiscent of a prison and are unsuitable for individuals who have escaped violence and persecution. They argue that funds should be used to provide safe housing in the community. The signatories also demand an independent inquiry into the death and accountability for those responsible.

Following the suicide, asylum seekers report that conditions have worsened since the barge became overcrowded with up to 300 people. Their concerns include strict security procedures, declining food quality, and shortages. The government defends the use of the barge, noting that it offers better value for money compared to the cost of hotels. They plan to close 50 hotels next year and claim that the barge provides a cost-effective solution. However, asylum seekers argue that the barge is akin to a prison and fear being transported to Rwanda. The Home Office has yet to provide the latest cost per person per night for the barge but promises to release the details in the new year.

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