Home Business News Rwanda asylum scheme could hit half a billion which is a ‘national scandal the Tories have been trying to hide’

Rwanda asylum scheme could hit half a billion which is a ‘national scandal the Tories have been trying to hide’

1st Mar 24 1:50 pm

The public spending watchdog has warned that the cost of the Prime Minister’s Rwanda asylum scheme could rise to a “staggering” half a billion.

The controversial Rwanda scheme could also end up costing hundreds of thousands more per asylum seeker to be kicked out of the UK.

So far the Home Office has remained tight lipped on how much more the asylum scheme could end up costing taxpayers.

The National Audit Office (NAO) revealed in a report that there will be millions of pounds more to spent plus an additional cost of £11,000 per plane ticket for each migrant.

Labour has hit out at Rish Sunak’s “staggering figures” as the “extortionate bill the taxpayer will have to pay the Rwandan government for an unworkable and inhumane scheme.”

Critics have also blasted Sunak saying this is a “national scandal the Tories have been trying to hide.”

The government has earmarked an extra £50 million for 2025 and the NAO has revealed this amount will be sent next year and again in 2026, meaning the total cost for taxpayers will be £370 million.

The government will then pay on top of the £370 million another £120 million bringing the total to a whopping £490 million.

The Home Office will also hand over to Rwanda almost £151,000 per person, this will be used to cover integration and processing costs, including food, healthcare, education and accommodation over the next five years.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “This report reveals the national scandal the Tories have been trying to hide. Its shocking analysis shows the costs of the failed Rwanda farce are even higher than previously thought.

“In order to send less than 1% of UK asylum seekers to Rwanda on a few symbolic flights, the taxpayer will be forced to fork out over half a billion pounds – with no ability to recover any of the money already sent. This is the equivalent of nearly £2 million per person sent.

“Rishi Sunak has staked his position on this scheme. He must account for this fiasco.”

Home Affairs Committee chairwoman Dame Diana Johnson said: “These are staggering figures. For all its rhetoric about ensuring value for money in the asylum and immigration system it is unclear how schemes such as Rwanda or Bibby Stockholm achieve that.

“Huge initial outlay and ongoing costs raise serious questions about how this can be cost effective, even compared to high hotel accommodation costs.

“What we are left with is a very expensive programme the Government hopes may offer a deterrent to those seeking to cross the Channel in small boats. Yet, there is little evidence for this either…

“This also does little to allay the serious concerns … about the lack of openness on the cost implications of the Rwanda scheme from the Home Office. For a scheme whose importance is apparently self-evident, we would expect the evidence base to be far clearer, not presented in dribs and drabs and getting worse every time.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “It is vital we respond to illegal migration with bold, long-term solutions. Our Partnership with Rwanda offers just that.

“Doing nothing is not without significant costs. Unless we act, the cost of housing asylum seekers is set to reach £11 billion per year by 2026. Illegal migration costs lives and perpetuates human trafficking, and it is therefore right that we fund solutions to break this unsustainable cycle.

“We have a strong relationship with Rwanda and both sides remain absolutely determined to deliver on this Partnership. Once the Safety of Rwanda Bill and Treaty are in place, we will focus on getting flights off the ground.”

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