The British government is currently spending £4.7 million (€5.6 million) a day on housing record numbers of asylum seekers in hotels across the country, a figure almost four times higher than it had previously disclosed to MPs, the U.K. Home Office has confirmed.
A team of Home Office officials led by Priti Patel gave evidence to the U.K. Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee on Wednesday, where committee members were told that the current cost to U.K. taxpayers for asylum seekers’ accommodation was £1.2 million a day.
The department however updated its evidence on Thursday and admitted the cost was almost four times larger. It reportedly put the discrepancy down to a “drafting error.”
“£1.2 million per day is spent accommodating people resettled from Afghanistan and another £3.5 million per day for asylum seekers,” confirmed BBC reporter, Simon Jones.
The U.K. government is therefore spending £1.3 billion a year on housing prospective asylum seekers, many of whom have arrived in the U.K. via the English Channel in dinghies last year. That figure rises to more than £1.7 billion when the resettlement of Afghans fleeing the Taliban is taken into account.
The amended figure was made public moments before Chancellor Rishi Sunak provided an update on rising energy prices, a topic expected to attract widespread national attention on Thursday.
During Wednesday’s select committee hearing, Patel told MPs that 25,000 migrants were currently housed in hotels being used as temporary accommodation across the country following last year’s record level of illegal immigration via the English Channel.
Subsequently, 23,000 migrants were stopped from completing the crossing by authorities.
When questioned on how many of the 28,000 migrants who arrived in boats last year had since had their asylum application rejected and subsequently been deported, Patel said she didn’t know the updated figure but admitted it was “tiny.” The latest government statistics had shown that just 10 removals had taken place.
The spike in illegal immigration in recent times to Britain shows no sign of slowing down, after January 2022 saw six times more arrivals than for the same period last year, putting the U.K. on course for 40,000 arrivals in this calendar year.