LONDON: A former travel agent made £2.19 million ($2.7 million) in 2022 from winning UK government contracts to house migrants in hotels, the Daily Mail reported on Monday.
Debbie Hoban is one of the most prominent private-sector chiefs profiting from the UK’s crippling refugee crisis.
Her Leeds-based company, Calder Conferences, made more than £6 million last year, primarily by finding bridging hotels for Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban’s takeover in 2021.
The company is now among many being paid to house small-boat arrivals and other asylum seekers in nearly 400 hotels throughout the UK, the Daily Mail reported.
Hoban lives in a £3 million country farmhouse with four bedrooms, a triple garage, swimming pool, jacuzzi, and basement wine cellar. Social media shows on her lavish trips to India’s Taj Mahal and attending the F1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi.
The BBC revealed that due to a severe scarcity of official accommodation a total of 395 hotels in the UK are being used to house 51,000 asylum seekers. This costs taxpayers more than £6.8 million per day.
“The number of people arriving in the UK who require accommodation has reached record levels and has put our asylum system under incredible strain,” a British Home Office spokesperson told the Daily Mail.
“The Home Office is committed to making every effort to reduce hotel use and limit the burden on the taxpayer,” they added.
In early 2020, Calder was reported to have had secret talks on behalf of the Ministry of Justice to support housing up to 2,000 prisoners in a Butlin’s holiday camp in the English east-coast town of Skegness to alleviate the jails crisis during the coronavirus pandemic, the Daily Mail reported.
Calder’s representatives met with Butlin’s executives and discussed a £10 million scheme to place low-risk prisoners in leisure facilities. However, senior government officials halted the plan before it could be implemented.
The Daily Mail approached Calder Conferences for a comment, but were told, “we decline to comment.”