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How much is COP26 accommodation on cruise ships? Are UK taxpayers footing the bill?

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COP26 is drawing closer and thousands of people from around the world are due to descend on Glasgow. Those attending the event report there is low availability of places to stay and hotels have used the conference to push up their prices dramatically with one place reportedly rising from £42 a night to £1,400 per night during the summit. Conference organisers have now booked two cruise ships to provide accommodation for the up to 25,000 people expected to attend COP26. Express.co.uk looks into how much this will cost.

Organisers of the climate change conference have organised two cruise ships to provide accommodation for people attending the summit.

The Latvian-flagged Romantika has berthed at King George V dock, next to Braehead Shopping Centre in Renfrew, and a second vessel, the MS Silja Europa, is berthed at Greenock.

The cruise ships were organised after concerns about the cost and availability of accommodation in the city were raised.

One room advertised cost £42 per night on a Monday earlier this month, rising to £1,400 per night during the summit according to BBC Scotland.

How much did the cruise ships cost?

MS Silja Europa, owned by Estonian cruise firm Tallink, usually cruises the Baltic Sea.

The exact figures for the cost of the charter are confidential, but according to exclusive comments gained by Express.co.uk earlier this year, the costs could be anywhere between £150 and £500 a night per person.

Joyce Landry, CEO of Landry and Kling previously told Express.co.uk cruise ships tend to have a daily charter rate and so with a maximum capacity of 3,000 the ship could cost more than a million.

COP26 will begin on October 31 and continue until November 12 which means accommodation is needed for at least 11 or 12 days.

With a lower estimate of £150 a night, the daily cost of the cruise ship if full would be £450,000.

Over the course of the entire summit, this would mean costs equate to around £4.95m or £5.4m depending on how many days the cruise liner was chartered for.

If the higher estimate of £500 a night is used, the daily cost of the cruise ship at full occupancy would be £1.5m.

For the entire conference, the ship would cost at least £16.5m or £18m depending on how many days the vessel was chartered for.

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Will the costs be paid for by UK taxpayers?

During the G7 Summit in Cornwall earlier this year, MS Silja Europa was used to house 1,000 police officers and security personnel.

Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed to Express.co.uk the costs of the ship for that event would be met by the UK Government.

The G7 Cabinet office said all “decisions on the operations themselves – including police accommodation – are made by D&C Police”.

It is likely the costs for COP26 will also be paid for by the Government meaning the UK taxpayers are looking at a bill of between £9m, right up to potentially £36m for the two cruise ships if their costs are comparable.

However, these costs could also be diminished if the ship does not operate at its full boarding capacity.

For the G7 Summit, only 1,000 people stayed on MS Silja Europa due to Covid restrictions.

Concerns about the Covid risk have been raised concerning the vessels because the virus spreads rapidly in enclosed spaces without sufficient ventilation.

COP26 said last week that the Scottish Government and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde were consulted about the cruise ships plan and a rigorous Covid testing system will be in place.

If there is a similar restriction on the number of people staying on the ships – the costs would likely be as little as £300,000 a day for both ships, or as much as £1m a day.

Over the course of the entire summit, these vessels would likely cost £3.3m or as much as £12m in total.

Express.co.uk has contacted the organisers of the climate change conference for more information.

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