Cost of housing Channel migrants in hotels rise to £1.3bn a year…more than £1bn above Foreign Office forecast, analysis suggests
- The accommodation cost almost £4,300 per head each month
- Equivalent to one and a half times the monthly wage of the average NHS nurse
- The £1.3bn figure has been calculated based on official figures released in February
- But another 28,000 migrants have arrived in the UK from northern France
The cost of housing Channel migrants and other asylum seekers in hotels has risen to £1.3 billion a year, according to an analysis.
Migration Watch UK, which is campaigning for stricter border controls, said housing cost nearly £4,300 per head per month – equivalent to one and a half times the average monthly wage of NHS nurses.
The £1.3 billion figure was calculated based on official figures released in February which showed that 25,000 migrants stayed in hotels on a full board basis.
Assistance: Police assist a pregnant woman as a group of people believed to be migrants walk onto the beach in Dungeness, Kent, after being rescued in the Channel by the RNLI following a small boat incident on September 22
However, the real cost to taxpayers is now likely to be much higher, as more than 28,000 additional migrants have since arrived in the UK by small boat from northern France.
Arriving already at 30,500 this year
The number of Channel Migrants reaching Britain since the beginning of the year has risen to over 30,000.
Official figures showed that a further 667 people arrived by small boat on Wednesday.
It brought this year’s running total to 30,515 – not counting yesterday’s further arrivals, believed to be at least 400. Yesterday, the first boatload of migrants was brought into Dover harbor at first light on a Border Force catamaran. Another Border Force ship, Defender, landed another group of about 40 people later in the morning.
More were also landed at Dungeness in Kent by RNLI lifeboats. This year’s total compares to 28,526 in all of 2021 and just 8,410 in 2020. So far, 5,475 people have arrived in 131 boats in September – the third highest monthly total.
The figure is more than £1 billion above a forecast of £70 million a year issued 18 months ago by the Home Office, the report said.
Hotels are used as stopovers for migrants due to a shortage of other accommodation, such as social or private rental housing.
This month, residents of Stratford-upon-Avon expressed concern after a recently renovated, heritage-listed hotel in the city was closed to public bookings to accommodate asylum seekers.
Alp Mehmet, chairman of Migration Watch, said: ‘As the number of illegal boat arrivals soared during the summer, the number housed in hotels has probably also increased.
It is now costing the already heavily pressured taxpayers dazzling amounts of money.’
The report from Migration Watch states: ‘As the public faces a worsening cost of living crisis and exploding utility bills, it is unacceptable that increasing amounts of public funds are being spent on providing hotel accommodation on this scale, especially given the fact that it was issued in response to the rising trend in illegal immigration.’
Figures published last month showed that the number of asylum seekers receiving taxpayer-funded aid had risen to 116,109 by the end of June, an increase of more than 31,000 or 37 percent in three months.
The total includes those who are housed for a longer period of time and some who only receive subsistence allowance.
Migration Watch said the cost of £1.3 billion a year for the 25,000 people housed in hotels in February was equivalent 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