Coalition calculates Bill would be almost double current cost of asylum system
Together With Refugees coalition estimates implementing the Nationality and Borders Bill could cost £2.7 billion a year
14 February 2022
A brief new report published today by the Together With Refugees coalition takes an attempt at calculating the additional financial costs to the taxpayer that will be caused by implementing the Nationality and Borders Bill.
The 5-page report, A Bill at What Price?, can be downloaded here.
Together With Refugees is a 400-strong coalition of organisations founded by Asylum Matters, the British Red Cross, Freedom from Torture, Rainbow Migration, Refugee Action, the Refugee Council and the Scottish Refugee Council.
The coalition estimates that the annual cost of the Bill will be an eye-watering £2.7 billion. The Home Office called the figure "pure speculation".
The Times noted that Together With Refugees' estimate would be almost double the £1.4 billion cost of the asylum system in 2019-20.
In its report, Together With Refugees breaks down their calculated costs of the Bill as follows:
- £117.4 million a year on removing people seeking refugee protection from the UK to another country.
- £717.6 million a year on setting up and running new accommodation centres to house people seeking refugee protection.
- £1.44 billion a year on setting up and running a completely new system to send people seeking refugee protection to another country for detention and processing.
- £432 million a year on imprisoning people seeking refugee protection who arrive via irregular routes.
- £1.5 million a year on extra bureaucratic processing for people allocated Temporary Protection Status.
Together With Refugees explained: "Projected direct unit costs of each area of policy are based on real world costs of implementing similar policies, drawing wherever possible on official figures. These are also likely to be conservative. For example, the projected costs of the additional processing for people subject to Temporary Protection Status is based on the Home Office cost of processing an application for leave to remain, though the new assessment process is likely to be more time and cost-intensive. The cost of each policy has been projected over five years starting from 2022, as the basis for then distilling an average annual future figure which smooths out peaks and troughs in costs."
Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, called it "an astonishing amount of additional public money for the unworkable and cruel proposals in the Bill."
Enver Solomon, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council, told The Independent: "The government's reforms will see vast amounts of public money wasted on cruelly pushing away and criminalising men, women and children desperately in need of safety and protection. They won't deliver the humane, fair, efficient and orderly asylum system that is needed."
In response to the report, a Home Office spokesperson was quoted by the Guardian as saying: "These figures are pure speculation. While lives are being lost in the Channel we will look at all options available to us. Our broken asylum system is costing the taxpayer an unacceptable £4.7m a day on hotels, which is why urgent reform is needed. Our New Plan for Immigration will fix the broken asylum system so that we spend less time and money on those abusing the system, enabling us to focus on helping those in genuine need."