UK now spending £8m a day housing migrants in hotels

The figure is a significant increase from a previous cost of £6m per day

Archie Mitchell
Tuesday 19 September 2023 13:25 BST

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The cost of housing asylum seekers has hit £8m a day, the Home Office has revealed, totalling more than £3bn a year.

The figure, in the department’s annual report, is a significant increase from a previous cost of £6m per day and comes as the backlog of asylum cases in the UK stands at a record high.

The report states: "We need to stop the boats to relieve the unsustainable pressure on our asylum system and accommodation services, which is costing over £3 billion a year.

"The Illegal Migration Act will ensure anyone arriving illegally can be detained and swiftly removed, so that people know they cannot skip the queue by coming here illegally.

"This goes further than ever before to do what is necessary to fix the issue, but legislative changes take time and there is no single silver bullet.

"In the meantime, we must take action to address the unacceptable costs of housing migrants in hotels which is costing the taxpayer around £8 million a day."

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper blamed the huge hotel bill on the government’s “asylum chaos”.

She said the Conservatives’ “utter failure to get a grip on this issue” was costing taxpayers more than £3bn a year.

Ms Cooper said: “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.”

Despite the soaring cost of Britain’s asylum system, the Home Office’s director general for migration and borders was given a bonus of up to £20,000 - on top of a £135,000 salary.

Interim Border Force head Phil Douglas was also handed up to £5,000 for good performance on top of a £115,000 salary, the report revealed.

And, in the report, the Home Office warned it is facing a “critical” risk that it could “fail to prevent the loss of lives in the immigration system”.

It warned of a risk the department fails to meet a duty of care to look after “some of the most vulnerable people in the asylum system”, leading to death, serious injury or abuse.

And, in the latest threat to Rishi Sunak’s promise to “stop the boats”, the Home Office report warned of a “high” risk that Britain’s partnership with the French “does not meet the stated ambition of drastically reducing the number of small boat crossings”.

In 2022, 45,755 migrants crossed the channel in small boats, the report said, a 60 per cent increase from a year earlier.

Crossings have been lower so far this year, which the PM has hailed as evidence his crackdown on migration is working, although critics say the dip is due to less favourable weather compared with last year.

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