Hotels for asylum seekers are now costing the Home Office up to £8million a day, figures reveal
- The Home Office’s annual accounts was published on Tuesday, revealing costs
Taxpayers are stumping up £8million a day to keep Channel migrants in hotels, official figures revealed yesterday.
Campaigners described the sum as ‘horrendous’ and urged ministers to ‘get a grip’ on the spiralling costs.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman cited a figure on Monday of £6million – a sum not updated since January despite there being nearly 24,000 clandestine crossings since then.
But the Home Office‘s annual report, published yesterday, highlighted the ‘unacceptable costs of housing migrants in hotels which is costing the taxpayer around £8million a day’. Total expenditure on the asylum system is more than £3billion a year, it added.
The report also revealed a surge in the number caught trying to enter Britain irregularly by air. It said 4,569 ‘inadequately documented’ passengers were identified at UK airports last year – such as foreign nationals who require a visa to enter Britain. It was up from 2,561 in the previous 12 months.
A group of people thought to be migrants crossing the Channel in a small boat traveling from the coast of France and heading in the direction of Dover, Kent. Picture date: August 29, 2023
The Britannia Hotel in Wigan on September 1 2023, which has been used to house migrants
The document said the surge could represent a ‘change in route by those seeking to evade controls’. A government source said of the £8million-a-day hotel costs: ‘This is why we’ve got to get migrants out of hotels and stop the boats.
‘We’re confident our Rwanda scheme, which is awaiting a judgment from the Supreme Court, will break the people smugglers’ business model.’
Yvette Cooper, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said: ‘This report illustrates the staggering costs of the Tories’ asylum chaos, with the taxpayer spending an astronomical £8million a day on hotels and the costs still going up and up.
‘That is the price of the Conservatives’ utter failure to get a grip on this issue – now costing over £3billion a year. Shockingly, the cost of hotel accommodation has gone up by a third since Rishi Sunak promised to end hotel use.
‘The Tories have busted the Home Office budget, they’ve broken the asylum system, and the British people are paying the price.’ Data published last week showed that at the end of June 117,450 asylum seekers were receiving taxpayer-funded support – with most receiving free accommodation.
The Mail revealed earlier this month that the Home Office had 215,518 asylum cases ‘in progress’ at the end of June, up 30 per cent year on year. It included more than 41,000 failed asylum seekers awaiting removal.
The 300-page Home Office report also showed the department paid out £16.1million in compensation for wrongful detention during the year 2022-23. It was up from £12.7million the previous year.
Ministers have looked to provide cheaper alternative housing for migrants who are waiting for their asylum application to be processed, with barges, such as the Bibby Stockholm (pictured on September 19, 2023) in Dorset, and former military sites converted into accommodation
Nine top Home Office civil servants received bonuses on top of their salaries during the year.
Up to £110,000 was paid out in bonuses in total. This included between £15,000 and £20,000 for Emma Churchill, director general of migration and borders.
All Afghans resettled in the UK under official schemes have now been moved out of bridging hotels. Cabinet Office minister Johnny Mercer told MPs yesterday the Government had met its target, set earlier this year, to relocate around 8,000 Afghans who were being put up in 55 hotels.
More than 85 per cent of Afghan households who were still in bridging hotels in March are now either housed or matched to housing, the Government said, with the remainder being looked after by councils or in interim accommodation for medical reasons.
Mr Mercer said the long-term settlement plan meant the Aghans could start to ‘put down roots in the community’.