I regret to inform you that according to recent data, the United Kingdom is expected to spend approximately £1.8 million for every asylum seeker from Rwanda.

Estimated read time 5 min read

The official spending watchdog for Whitehall revealed that Rishi Sunak’s primary proposal to transfer refugees to Rwanda will amount to £1.8m per each of the initial 300 individuals deported to Kigali, ultimately paid for by taxpayers.

According to the statistics given to the National Audit Office, the total expense of the plan exceeds £500 million. Despite the possibility of the UK not contributing any personnel to the central African nation, Sunak has committed to providing £370 million from taxpayer funds over the course of five years.

For almost three years, prime ministers, home secretaries, and senior staff from the Home Office have consistently refused to reveal the complete expenses of the agreement, using the reason of “commercial confidentiality” to justify their actions.

Until now, there have been no instances of asylum seekers being transferred to Rwanda due to frequent legal obstacles presented by European and UK legislation.

The chair of the home affairs select committee, Diana Johnson, was surprised by the final figures and shared her significant concerns about the lack of transparency.

Labour MP Johnson expressed concern over the financial feasibility of the project, citing the large expenses involved in both the initial investment and continual upkeep. He believes that these costs outweigh the potential savings compared to high hotel expenses.

The government has implemented an expensive program that they hope will discourage individuals from crossing the English Channel in small boats. However, there is not enough evidence to support this claim.

The government must address the true state of affairs and direct its resources and public funds towards resolving the actual problems within the asylum and immigration system in order to achieve any meaningful progress.

Auditors have reported that the Home Office has committed to providing two forms of direct payments to the government of Rwanda. These include payments to the Economic Transformation and Integration Fund (ETIF), aimed at boosting economic development in Rwanda, as well as payments to cover the costs of asylum processing and operations for individuals being relocated to Rwanda.

The Home Office has contributed a total of £220 million to the ETIF since April 2022. It plans to make additional payments of £50 million in the years 2024-25, 2025-26, and 2026-27.

According to the report, each relocated individual will receive a package that includes five years of processing and integration services. This package covers expenses for housing, basic necessities like food, medical care, education, and other programs aimed at facilitating integration. The estimated cost for each deported person for this package is £150,874.

If the UK chooses to send 300 individuals to Rwanda, the estimated cost for the taxpayer would be £490 million through the partnership. This would be in addition to £6 million in individual payments and £45 million for processing and operational costs over the course of five years. In total, the cost would amount to £541 million, averaging out to £1.8 million per asylum seeker.

The Rwanda program, which has been managed by three different prime ministers – Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, and Rishi Sunak – has cost the Home Office £20m. Four home secretaries – Priti Patel, Suella Braverman (in two separate periods), Grant Shapps, and James Cleverly – have been in charge of overseeing the scheme.

According to the report, the anticipated amount of £20m is projected to increase to £28m by the conclusion of 2023-24. Additionally, the Home Office predicts that there will be additional expenses incurred between now and the end of the program.

The report stated that if the UK triggers a break clause in the agreement, it would cease making additional payments under the ETIF. However, the country would still be responsible for covering the expenses of deported individuals and would not be able to retrieve any previous payments made.

If the agreement between Rwanda and the UK is violated, the UK can request repayment for payments made during that specific year, but not for any preceding years.

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The expenses listed in the report are the specific costs linked to the collaboration. According to the report, there are additional expenses related to the implementation of the Illegal Migration Act that were not taken into account.

The Home Office declares that the typical expense for one night of hosting asylum seekers in hotel accommodations is £140, not factoring in costs to local services. They state that the projected total cost to taxpayers over a span of five years would greatly exceed £150,000 per asylum seeker.

According to the evaluation, the Illegal Migration Act of 2023 predicts that failure to take action will result in asylum seeker housing expenses amounting to £11bn annually by 2026.

The Home Office representative claimed that the plan was a daring and sustainable approach, asserting that it would relocate individuals to Rwanda and ultimately be cost-effective.

“Not taking action has its consequences – if we do not act, the yearly cost of accommodating asylum seekers is projected to reach £11bn by 2026. Illegal migration results in loss of lives and supports the ongoing issue of human trafficking. It is only proper that we invest in solutions to disrupt this unsustainable pattern,” she stated.

“We maintain a strong connection with Rwanda and are committed to fulfilling our partnership. After finalizing the necessary agreements for safety and trade, our primary goal will be initiating flights to the region.”

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper stated that the report brings to light the national disgrace that the Conservative party has been attempting to conceal. Its alarming findings illustrate that the expenses related to the unsuccessful Rwanda situation are even more substantial than originally believed.

To transport a small percentage of asylum seekers in the UK to Rwanda via a few ceremonial flights, taxpayers will have to pay over £500 million, without the possibility of reimbursement for previous expenditures.

“Rishi Sunak has made a firm stand regarding this plan. He should justify his involvement in this failure.”

Source: theguardian.com

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