Braverman to find an extra £2billion to house asylum seekers

The Government has admitted there is no deadline to the use of public-funded hotel rooms for asylum seekers, as it emerges the Home Office will need to fork out an extra £2billion to fund them. The number of migrants housed in hotels in the UK has just passed 50,000 for the first time.

This marks a significant increase since March 2020, when just 2,600 were housed at a cost of over £6million a day. The Treasury is reportedly pushing for the Home Office to reduce their use of “expensive” hotels.

It has now agreed several efficiency cuts within the department and is using money from its own reserve in order to meet the £2billion overspend.

A senior Whitehall source familiar with discussions told the Telegraph: “The Treasury has been frustrated that the Home Office is placing migrants in expensive hotels and has pushed them to look at cheaper alternatives.”

According to the Home Office’s projections, up to 80,000 more Channel migrants could reach the UK this year.

Rishi Sunak today announced that Britain will give a substantial investment – estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of pounds – to France, to invest in policing, security and intelligence to crack down on the number of asylum seekers crossing the Channel in dangerous small boats.

He met with President Macron today at the Elysee Palace in Paris for the first summit between the UK and France in five years. The overspend comes after Home Secretary Suella Braverman unveiled the Government’s Illegal Migration Bill.

The controversial Bill has faced accusations of failing to comply with the European convention on human rights. It proposes to detain and remove those from the UK who arrive in that country by illegal means, as well as blocking them from returning.

The Bill will also remove protections against modern slavery for anyone in this position.

Questions have also been raised over the second clause of the Bill, which places duty on the Home Secretary to remove asylum seekers and others who enter the UK in breach of normal immigration laws – but does not necessarily give Ms Braverman the power to do so.

Unless the government is able reach sufficient deals with safe third countries to receive large numbers of refugees from the UK, the Home Secretary may find herself in breach of a duty she imposed on herself. The Bill will have its second reading in the Commons on Monday, and its measures are expected to cost £3billion a year.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed his backing earlier in the week. He is understood to have privately told Mrs Braverman that “money is no issue” in stopping the boats, which is one of Mr Sunak’s five priority policies ahead of the election.

The Home Office may also be about to announce plans to move thousands of migrants out of hotels into bigger sites such as disused military bases.

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Mr Sunak said in December that the Government had identified locations that could accommodate 10,000 migrants, with the aim of adding thousands more places in the coming months.

These sites have faced opposition, however, including from Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who is critical of the idea to turn a former RAF base in Wethersfield, Essex.

Jonathan Gullis, MP for Stoke on Trent, which has more than 300 migrants in two hotels, warned that the Government risked losing red wall seats like his.

He added that voters wanted to see hotels being emptied of migrants and deportation flights to Rwanda and other countries.

But David Davis, former Brexit secretary, has claimed: “No one expects this to be solved by the next election despite the rhetoric. It’s a really difficult intractable problem whether you are in a Red or Blue Wall seat.”

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