Failed asylum seekers have cost the country a whopping £73million in the last year; that means every person has paid the equivalent of about £1.14 a year to support these illegal spongers. Across the year, that’s just over a pocket bursting 0.003 pence a day for each of us.
The £73m figure has been released by the Home Office - and it is the first time it has been released - to coincide with the government’s ‘consultation’ on its plans to axe benefits for those who remain in the country after their application to remain has been refused.
In the last year, this support was provided to just over 15,000 asylum seekers, and their dependents, who had their application refused, up from about 9,000 the year before.
Of that sum, £28million goes towards about 4,900 failed asylum seekers who 'would otherwise be destitute' and if they meet certain other conditions, such as a medical reason for not being able to travel.
A further £45million supported about 2,900 families who, under the current legislation, continue to receive help if they have a dependent child.
Currently, a migrant can receive a £36 weekly allowance, as well as accommodation, the moment they claim asylum in the UK and it continues for thousands after an application has failed.
Apparently, according to the government, this level of generosity is 'wrong in principle and sends entirely the wrong message to those migrants who do not require our protection but who may seek to come to or remain in the UK in an attempt to benefit from the support arrangements we have put in place for those who need our protection'.
Instead, the government wants to stop support for those who don't leave Britain after their claim is rejected, unless there is a 'genuine obstacle' preventing them from returning to their home country. Safeguards will remain for children, the government insists, but for families their benefits would cease after a grace period of 28 days.
The government believes the current system 'creates an incentive to remain in the UK unlawfully'.
As the migrant crisis continues, the government is doing all it can not to mention the word refugee; it appears to hope that no one will cotton on to the fact that many of those trying to cross the Mediterranean and the Channel, are fleeing war torn places like Syria, Libya, Eritrea, Somalia, Afghanistan and may well have genuine reasons for seeking refuge. Instead, the implication is that many of these might be making such a perilous journey for this egregious £36 a week.
Obviously, it is right that those who fail to secure asylum return to their point of origin, if possible, but for the sake of 0.003p each a day, is it really a mark of a humane society to deny pitiful amounts of support for families and those threatened with destitution?
And, if failed asylum seekers are not deported - which would not be an enormous surprise judging from the country's long experience of our inept border services - how would they be supported?
This effort to make 'savings' might not only be counterproductive and unpleasant, it is yet another example of the government fiddling and grasping for easy headlines rather than trying to take effective action.