MP backs call for a review of the future of a Sussex detention centre for failed asylum seekers

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Horsham MP Jeremy Quin is backing a call for the Home Office to review the future of a detention centre for failed asylum seekers in Pease Pottage.

He spoke out after it was revealed last week that the centre - Cedars - had cost taxpayers more than £6 million last year for holding just 14 families.

The centre houses families awaiting deportation and is run by the security firm G4S on behalf of the Home Office - but is frequently left empty.

It has nine individual apartments with lounges, children’s play areas, a gym, library, a cafe, internet access, landscaped gardens, basketball court, prayer room and mosque.

Former prisons ombudsman Stephen Shaw has called for the centre to be shut down. And in a report to the Government, he said costs of running Cedars were “a misdirection of public money that could be better used for other purposes.”

A Home Office spokesman said later that the costs were now under review.

Meanwhile, Crawley MP Henry Smith has already said that costs of running the centre were a concern and he is pursuing the matter with the Home Office.

And this week Horsham MP Jeremy Quin said it was right that the review was taking place.

“The families held at Cedars are some of those needing the most support in going through the deportation process.

“The good news is that as a result of more voluntary repatriations the centre is rarely used. This has though left the centre rarely used and created what the recent report calls a “misdirection of public money ... which is simply unacceptable.”

He added that “with so much pressure on public finances this is very hard to justify.”