Nick Abbot 10pm - 1am
Home Office paying £8m a day on migrant hotels, accounts reveal - one day after Home Secretary said bill was £6m
19 September 2023, 17:41 | Updated: 19 September 2023, 17:55
The cost of housing migrants in hotels has risen to £8m a day, new figures from the Home Office show.
Listen to this article
The new figure puts the total annual spending on housing migrants in hotels at more than £3bn a year.
It comes after Suella Braverman, the home secretary, said the figure was £6m a day when addressing the Commons on Monday.
“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 report states.
“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.”
Housing migrants in hotels has increased as the number of asylum claims in the UK has hit record levels.
The government has a legal obligation to provide asylum seekers with basic accommodation while their claims are being processed.
However, a backlog in previous unprocessed claims and the increase in the number of asylum seekers has delayed this, resulting in an increased use of hotels.
The government’s controversial Rwanda scheme was announced last year as part of its effort to tackle the number of asylum seekers in the UK.
“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,” a government source said.
The government has also attempted to cut the cost of housing migrants in hotels by moving them to barges and disused military sites this year.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper hit out at the government over the new figure.
“Shockingly, the cost of hotel accommodation has gone up by a third since Rishi Sunak promised to end hotel use,” she said.
“The Tories have busted the Home Office budget, they’ve broken the asylum system, and the British people are paying the price.”
The report also warned that there is a “critical” risk that it could “fail to prevent the loss of lives in the immigration system”.
A government source said the new figure shows “why we've got to get migrants out of hotels and stop the boats”.
The new figures come after the government announced on Tuesday that it has ended the use of hotel accommodation to house Afghan families given refuge in the UK.
Cabinet Office minister Johnny Mercer said more than 85% of the 8,000 Afghan refugees - who came to the UK under the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement scheme - have now been moved into homes or pre-matched into settled accommodation.
This is despite the Local Government Association’s previous claim that one in five Afghans leaving hotels were appearing to councils as homeless.
The number of people crossing the channel in small boats hit over 45,000 last year - the highest number on record.