UK minister vows to end 'Hotel Britain' to curb migrants

Government to announce 10-point plan to stop asylum seekers crossing the English Channel

Britain's Minister of State at the Home Office Robert Jenrick leaves Downing Street following a cabinet meeting in London. AP
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Britain’s immigration minister has called for an end to “Hotel Britain” — that is costing almost £6 million a day — with the Home Office planning to introduce basic student accommodation for asylum seekers.

Robert Jenrick is set to announce a 10-point plan on Monday to reduce the massive influx of migrants that has seen more than 40,000 enter Britain this year, causing significant political issues for the Conservative government.

He has also proposed introducing a fast-track deportation scheme for Albanians with claims heard within days.

Mr Jenrick condemned the use of “unsuitable” hotels that are costing the taxpayer £5.6 million a day and making Britain a “destination of choice” for economic migrants, many from Albania, in an article for The Sunday Telegraph.

He has condemned the use of £200-a-night country hotels and it is suggested that the Home Office is considering more basic digs such as disused student accommodation, low-cost holiday parks and budget cruise ships.

“‘Hotel Britain’ must end, and be replaced with simple, functional accommodation that does not create an additional pull factor,” Mr Jenrick wrote in The Sunday Telegraph.

He plans to set up a task force to effectively use accommodation with more than 200 hotels currently housing migrants.

It is one of 10 measures to combat the migrant situation that on Saturday witnessed a further 972 people crossing the English Channel in small boats, bringing the total this year to 40,885.

With Albania accounting for 12,000 of the arrivals, ministers want to introduce a fast-track deportation system with claims heard within days followed by removals. It has been agreed with Albania that it would be deemed a “safe country”.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick outside Downing Street after a cabinet meeting. He has vowed to put an end to 'Hotel Britain'. EPA

“Those coming from safe countries such as Albania — whose citizens account for 30 per cent of illegal crossings this year — must see that crossing the Channel in small boats is not a path to a life here,” Mr Jenrick said.

“The record number of arrivals, and the prospect of further increases, require us to overhaul the system to ensure our laws are appropriate.”

After relations have significantly improved with France under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s administration, a new migrant agreement with Paris is now likely.

It is hoped that under a £60 million scheme to be agreed on Monday, the French will double their shore patrols in northern France, curtailing the migrants crossings by up to 50 per cent.

British officials will also be placed in French command centres helping provide intelligence on people smugglers and crossing points.

Mr Jenrick also insisted that the government would renew its attempts to deport migrants for processing in Rwanda after the plan was halted by the High Court.

Updated: November 13, 2022, 3:57 PM
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