The government’s Rwanda plan for asylum seekers could end up costing taxpayers around £400 million.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper told MPs in the House Commons that Rishi Sunak’s plan will take more than 100 years to deport 15,000 asylum seekers.
Cooper said that £400 million is “hell of a lot of money” and she questioned the government are there any further commitments made to Rwanda.
The Home Office has already confirmed that £240 million has been spent “for nothing” as not one asylum seekers has left on a flight, plus a further £50 million is earmarked for Rwanda in 2024/2025.
Read more related news:
Sunak told to scrap the Rwanda Bill as it has ‘so many holes in it’ and find a ‘revised version that works better’
Sunak is ‘a lame duck’ and the Tories have ‘literally lied to the electorate’ and ‘broken every promise’
Cooper asked the Home Secretary James Cleverly in the Commons if the deal with Rwanda is to give Kigali another £50 million yearly.
Cleverly replied to Cooper saying, “is asking me to confirm figures which we have put in the public domain so unsurprisingly I’m totally comfortable confirming what I’ve already said.”
Cooper told MPs, “Hundreds of millions of pounds could now be £400 million, and I would like the immigration minister – whichever of the immigration ministers is winding up today – to explain whether in fact this is now a £400 million plan.”
The Shadow Home Secretary said in the Commons that millions given to Rwanda could have been spent on recruiting thousands of more police officer to boost border security to “smash the criminal gangs” and clear the backlog of asylum seekers to put an end to them living in hotels which is costing “£8 million a day.”
She reminded Cleverly that clause two of the Illegal Migration Act 2023 requires the Home Secretary to “remove everyone to Rwanda or elsewhere if they arrived after July.”
Cooper added, “They put it on hold apparently until Rwanda gets off the ground but even if they do manage to do that quickly more than 15,000 people will have arrived in the country on small boats since then – all of whom they’ve now promised to send to Rwanda.
“So if Rwanda is only going to take a few hundred people a year, it’s going to take them over 100 years to send the 15,000 people who have arrived since they passed the last law.
“It’ll take them 10 years to send everyone who has arrived in the last fortnight alone and in the meantime while they focus on this gimmick, they’re failing to get a grip and they’re failing to bring down the backlog and instead we’ve got people in asylum hotels at taxpayers’ expense at the astronomical cost of £8 million a day.”
Cooper said of the Government’s plan, “£400 million for a failing plan is hell of a lot of money.”