Government will stop using 100 migrant hotels in key battleground seats in a bid by Sunak to improve Tory election hopes
The government will stop using 100 migrant hotels in key election battleground seats in a bid by Rushi Sunak to improve his Tory election hopes.
Contracts with hotels will be slashed in areas such as Stoke and Wigan in the hope that anger over the small boat crisis will be addressed.
The issue has become one of the most visible signs of the government’s failure to tackle illegal migration, Conservative Party strategists acknowledge.
The move, which will be announced tomorrow, will see such hotels stop taking migrants by the end of March.
Taxpayers are currently stumping up £8million a day to keep Channel migrants in hotels with a rapid acceleration in the rate of asylum claims being processed and a lower than expected number of migrants crossing the Channel.
The government will stop using 100 migrant hotels in key election battleground seats in a bid by Rushi Sunak to improve his Tory election hopes
A police officer walks with residents back to the Crowne Plaza Hotel, on Portsmouth Road in Long Ditton, south west London
A view of the scene outside the Comfort Inn hotel on Belgrave Road in Pimlico, central London, where refugees have been housed
The Mail revealed earlier this month that the Home Office had 215,518 asylum cases ‘in progress’ at the end of June, up 30 per cent year on year. It included more than 41,000 failed asylum seekers awaiting removal.
This year 26,168 migrants have arrived in 552 small boats — 30 per cent fewer than the 37,603 that had crossed by this time last year. The Border Force had forecast that 65,000 migrants would cross the Channel in small boats this year, compared with 45,755 in 2022.
READ MORE: Asylum seeker who chronicled his journey from France to UK on TikTok is now living in ‘ultra chic, sophisticated’ four-star hotel with the ‘cosiest beds in London’
As of June 2023, there were more than 50,000 asylum seekers in roughly 400 hotels, costing £8.2 million a day.
Ministers hope that the latest move will be a ‘turning point’ towards stopping the practice altogether. Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, will make the announcement, The Times revealed.
The decline in Home Office demand for hotels has also been boosted by work to clear a backlog of 92,000 asylum claims that Sunak promised would be completed by the end of this year.
The latest published figures showed that 55,477 were outstanding by the end of August.
The closure of 100 hotels for migrant accommodation will be the first in a string of announcements designed to show the government’s progress towards Sunak’s ‘Stop the boats’ pledge, although he will still be under pressure to reduce the number to zero by the next election.
The government hopes that in mid-December the Supreme Court will declare its Rwanda policy as lawful, paving the way for migrants to be deported early next year.
Mr Sunak has been urged by his fellow Tories to get a grip on immigration following record figures.
A total of 26,168 migrants have made the treacherous crossing in 406 dinghies so far in 2023.
The Britannia Hotel in Wigan on September 1 2023, which has been used to house migrants
A group of people thought to be migrants crossing the Channel in a small boat traveling from the coast of France and heading in the direction of Dover, Kent. Picture date: August 29, 2023
Last year saw a record 45,755 people make the journey overall, a 60 per cent increase on 2021.
There were a total of 78,768 asylum applications relating to 97,390 people in the year ending June 2023 – 19 per cent more than the previous year.
And despite his pledge to ‘stop the boats’, crossings continue to rise at levels higher than those seen in 2021, 2020 or 2019 – though levels remain lower than those seen this time last year.
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