The Prime Minister is under fire as his beleaguered Rwanda policy has already cost taxpayers £240 million even though it has never been used.
In the 2023-24 financial fiscal year the government spent a further £100 million even though flights are grounded and Downing Street has been hit with legal setbacks.
A letter from the Home Office to committee chairs has revealed that ministers are expecting the government to fork out another £50 million in the coming year which will bring the total cost to £290 million, it is not known if Downing Street will then continue with more payments.
On Thursday, the Home Office official Matthew Rycroft wrote to Home Affairs Committee chair Dame Diana Johnson, and Public Accounts Committee chair Dame Meg Hillier.
Rycroft’s letter said, “Ministers have agreed that I can disclose now the payments so far in the 2023-24 financial year.
“There has been one payment of £100m, paid in April this year as part of the Economic Transformation and Integration Fund mentioned above.
“The UK government has not paid any more to the government of Rwanda thus far.
“This was entirely separate to the treaty – the government of Rwanda did not ask for any payment in order for a treaty to be signed, nor was any offered.”
shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper saying: “How many more blank cheques will Rishi Sunak write before the Tories come clean about this scheme being a total farce?
“Britain simply can’t afford more of this costly chaos from the Conservatives.”
Legal migration minister Tom Pursglove defended the move, he told Sky News, “When you consider that we are unacceptably spending £8m a day in the asylum system at the moment, it is a key part of our strategy to bring those costs down so I think this is the right investment to make that will help us achieve those objectives of saving lives at sea, stopping people drowning in the Channel, as well as getting those costs under control in a way I think taxpayers across the country want to see.”
Pursglove added, “I think there is a unity of purpose among Conservative MPs that action does need to be taken that we do need to deliver on this.
“There will be parliamentary debates, there will be opportunities for people to bring amendments, the house will consider them in the normal way and as ministers we will engage constructively with parliamentarians around any concerns that they have and handle that in the way that we would any other piece of legislation.
“We will engage with colleagues around concerns that they have, but I am pretty clear that this plan is the right plan and we are determined to see it through.
“This is the right approach to move this issue forward.”
He continued, “I do think parliamentarians across the House should come together to back this.
“If you really want to stop the small boat crossings, this is such a critical part of the plan I think all MPs should be getting in behind it.”