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MPs Criticize UK Government's Rwanda Asylum Scheme as Infeasible and Costly

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Ayize claire

May 30, 2024

Public Accounts Committee Report Highlights Severe Overspending and Lack of Practical Planning in Home Office's Controversial Relocation Strategy

Responding to the report, Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “People will only stop coming to the UK illegally when they know they won’t get to stay. Labour would strip Britain of that deterrent.
MPs gather in the House of Commons ahead of the second vote on the emergency Rwanda migrant deportation bill in London

The UK government's plan to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda lacks a credible implementation strategy, according to a scathing report by the Public Accounts Committee.

The Home Office's accommodation plans have fallen "woefully short of reality," with costs spiraling far beyond initial estimates. One site alone has cost almost 10 times the projected £5m, totaling £49m.

Since June 2022, the government has spent £310m on the scheme, with £290m allocated to Rwanda. Despite this significant expenditure, no flights are expected before the upcoming elections, as stated by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The National Audit Office revealed that the total cost of housing over 50,000 asylum seekers in the UK has also been substantial.

Detention for Rwanda flights began last month, but immigration judges have since released at least 24 detainees due to unclear timetables. The government has not disclosed the number of successful bail applications for "operational reasons."

MPs criticized the Home Office's lack of transparency and practical planning, expressing doubt in its ability to execute the Rwanda partnership effectively. The committee highlighted the significant overspending on new asylum accommodation sites, such as RAF Wethersfield and RAF Scampton, compared to keeping migrants in hotels.

In response, Home Secretary James Cleverly emphasized the necessity of the Rwanda scheme to deter illegal immigration, while Labour's Yvette Cooper condemned the plan as ineffective and a waste of taxpayer money.

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