Quarantine hotels: G4S among the big winners

Security company G4S logo
G4S, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

UK citizens returning from a ‘red list’ of 33 countries around the world and forced to quarantine for 10 days starting from today, will find themselves contributing to the profits of disgraced security company G4S. Red list countries are those that the government has decided have a high risk of travellers bringing back cases of Covid-19 and its variants into the UK.

For the 10-day, 11-night stay, quarantining guests are expected to pay £1,750 for each single adult. According to Sky News, the Department of Health and Social Care claims that 16 hotels have agreed to take part, providing a total 4,963 rooms, with another 58,000 on standby.

However, Paul Brand, UK editor at ITV News, claims the hotels are set to receive under half of the payment, which also has to cover three meals per day. The rest, around £900, is to pay for compulsory covid testing, transport from the airport to the hotel – a five-minute journey since the hotels are all close to the airports served – and a “large whack to G4S for security” to ensure rules are adhered to.

G4S, according to its website, is a “supplier of integrated security services and products for a wide range of organisations and events across the UK. Combining innovation and quality guarding, we provide a full end to end solution combining cutting edge technology with high-class manpower services”.

Byline Times had a report last year about G4S being forced to pay a £44.4m fraud bill to the UK government. The payment was to compensate the government for false bills, charged to the public purse in 2011 and 2012, for security tagging people who were either dead, in prison or had not actually been tagged. Reuters said the payment was made to “avoid criminal charges” after a long-running investigation.

Taxpayers might also be galled to discover about the involvement of G4S on in this coronavirus contract/handout, given that the National Audit Office reported in 2013 that G4S had paid no corporation tax the year before, despite logging billions of pounds in government contracts.

In the meantime, ‘red list’ travellers have started arriving at these hotels for their expensive quarantine stays, while fellow passengers from onboard the same plans are free to go about their business as usual. Apparently, spending several hours in an airconditioned space in close proximity to these high-risk potential covid carriers is not considered a problem.

Can you help us reach more readers?