Cost of housing Channel migrants in hotels soars to £1.3bn a year… more than £1billion above Foreign Office forecast, analysis suggests
The cost of housing Channel migrants and other asylum seekers in hotels has rocketed to £1.3billion a year, according to an analysis.
Migration Watch UK, which campaigns for tougher border controls, said the accommodation was costing almost £4,300 per head each month – equivalent to one and a half times the average NHS nurse’s monthly wage.
The £1.3billion figure was calculated from official figures released in February which showed 25,000 migrants were in hotels on full board.
Assistance: Police help a pregnant lady as a group of people thought to be migrants walk up the beach in Dungeness, Kent, after being rescued in the Channel by the RNLI following following a small boat incident on September 22
However, the true cost to the taxpayer is now likely to be far higher because more than 28,000 additional migrants have since arrived in the UK by small boat from northern France.
Arrivals already at 30,500 this year
The number of Channel migrants reaching Britain since the start of the year has surged past 30,000.
Official figures showed a further 667 people arrived by small boat on Wednesday.
It brought this year’s running total to 30,515 – not including further arrivals yesterday which are thought to number at least 400. Yesterday the first boatload of migrants was brought into the harbour at Dover at first light on a Border Force catamaran. Another Border Force vessel, Defender, brought another group of about 40 people ashore later in the morning.
More were also brought ashore at Dungeness in Kent by RNLI lifeboats. This year’s total compares with 28,526 in the whole of 2021 and just 8,410 in 2020. So far in September 5,475 people have arrived in 131 boats – the third-highest monthly total.
The figure is more than £1billion above a £70million-a-year forecast issued by the Home Office 18 months ago, the report said.
Hotels are being used as a stop-gap for migrants due to a shortage of other accommodation such as social or privately rented housing.
This month residents of Stratford-upon-Avon expressed concern after a recently-renovated Grade II-listed hotel in the town was closed to public bookings to start housing asylum seekers.
Alp Mehmet, chairman of Migration Watch, said: ‘As the illegal boat arrivals soared over the summer the number being housed in hotels has likely gone up too.
It is now costing the already hard-pressed, taxpayer eye-watering amounts of money.’
Migration Watch’s report said: ‘With the public facing a worsening cost of living crisis and exploding energy bills, it is unacceptable for ever-growing amounts of public funds to be diverted to providing hotel accommodation on this scale, especially given the fact that it is being spent in response to rising trends in illegal immigration.’
Figures published last month showed the number of asylum seekers receiving taxpayer-funded support climbed to 116,109 at the end of June, up by more than 31,000 or 37 per cent in three months.
The total includes those in longer-term housing and some who receive subsistence allowances only.
Migration Watch said the £1.3billion-a-year cost for the 25,000 people being housed in hotels in February equated to £4,258 per asylum seeker per month. The Royal College of Nursing estimated last year that the average annual salary of an NHS nurse was £33,384, or £2,782 gross per month.
Migrants rest on the beach after arriving in Kent, following their rescue in the Channel