Migrant hotels bill climbs to £8m a day, with Wigan's Kilhey Court joining accommodation used

The Home Office is paying “around £8 million” per day for asylum seekers to stay in hotels, according to the department’s annual accounts.
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The figure is higher than the £6m daily cost cited by Home Secretary Suella Braverman in the Commons on Monday.

Labour’s home affairs spokeswoman Yvette Cooper said the bill was “astronomical” and accused the Tories of failing to grip the issue of unlawful migration.

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Kilhey Court in Standish is now being used to house asylum seekersKilhey Court in Standish is now being used to house asylum seekers
Kilhey Court in Standish is now being used to house asylum seekers
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The department’s annual report and accounts for 2022-23 was published on Tuesday, just a day before a demonstration is due to be held in Wigan town centre against the use of Kilhey Court in Standish to house asylum seekers.

It follows a protest held in Standish earlier this month, with objections including Standish already housing asylum seekers at the Britannia Hotel and that Kilhey is too remote from amenities.

The Home Office report said the arrival of small boats of migrants across the Channel was placing an “unsustainable pressure on our asylum system and accommodation services”, costing taxpayers more than £3 billion a year.

The Conservative Government passed the Illegal Migration Act in July, designed to give powers to deport asylum seekers arriving via unauthorised routes either back to their home country or to Rwanda.

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The £140m deal to send migrants to the East Africa nation, however, is held up in the courts.

The Act, according to the Home Office’s annual report, “goes further than ever before” to prevent the arrival of small boats but said “legislative changes take time and there is no single silver bullet”.

It added: “In the meantime, we must take action to address the unacceptable costs of housing migrants in hotels which is costing the taxpayer around £8m a day.”

Ministers have looked at cheaper alternative housing for migrants who are waiting for asylum applications to be processed, with barges and former military sites converted into accommodation.

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Shadow home secretary Ms Cooper said: “This report illustrates the staggering costs of the Tories’ asylum chaos, with the taxpayer now spending an astronomical £8m a day on hotels and the costs still going up and up.

“That is the price of the Conservatives’ utter failure to get a grip on this issue – now costing over £3 billion a year.

“Shockingly, the cost of hotel accommodation has gone up by a third since Rishi Sunak promised to end hotel use.

“The Tories have busted the Home Office budget, they’ve broken the asylum system, and the British people are paying the price.”

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made stopping the boats one of his priorities ahead of a likely general election next year.

Since he entered 10 Downing Street, provisional figures suggest at least 31,000 asylum seekers have crossed the Channel, while almost 24,000 have arrived in 2023, Home Office statistics show.

Ms Cooper said Labour would end hotel use and stop the perilous migrant crossings by targeting criminal gangs supporting human trafficking.

It comes after she and party leader Sir Keir Starmer used a trip to The Hague in the Netherlands to set out Labour’s plan for tackling irregular migration.

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Sir Keir said he would focus on ensuring an anti-terrorism-style international crackdown could smash the gangs behind the “vile” trade, preventing people leaving in small boats from France in the first place.