Sunak doubles down on ‘stop the boats’ vow as Channel crossings continue

Channel crossings continued for a tenth consecutive day as Rishi Sunak insisted his “cease the boats” pledge would minimize the “unacceptable” value of the asylum system.

The Prime Minister warned the asylum system was beneath “unsustainable stress” after the invoice for the taxpayer nearly doubled in a 12 months to almost £4 billion.

Residence Workplace spending on asylum rose by £1.85 billion, from £2.12 billion in 2021/22 to £3.97 billion in 2022/23.

A decade in the past, in 2012/13, the complete value to the taxpayer was £500.2 million.

Authorities statistics additionally confirmed that 80% of asylum seekers are ready longer than six months for an preliminary choice.

Separate Residence Workplace knowledge confirmed Channel crossings topped 19,000 for the 12 months to date, regardless of Mr Sunak’s vow to voters that he’ll “cease the boats”.

Some 208 migrants arrived in the UK on Thursday after crossing the Channel in 4 boats, taking the provisional complete for 2023 to this point to 19,382.

Crossings continued on Friday for the tenth day in a row amid sunny, heat and calm situations at sea.

The Prime Minister instructed the Every day Specific: “One of the best ways to alleviate the unsustainable pressures on our asylum system and unacceptable prices to the taxpayer is to cease the boats in the first place.

“That’s why we’re targeted on our plan to interrupt the enterprise mannequin of the folks smugglers facilitating these journeys, together with working with worldwide companions upstream to disrupt their efforts, stepping up joint work with the French to assist scale back crossings and tackling the asylum backlog.”

Total, a complete of 175,457 folks had been ready for an preliminary choice on an asylum utility in the UK at the finish of June 2023, up 44% from 122,213 for the identical interval a 12 months earlier – the highest determine since present information started in 2010.

Of those, 139,961 had been ready longer than six months for an preliminary choice, up 57% 12 months on 12 months from 89,231 and one other report excessive.

Labour stated the record-high asylum backlog quantities to a “disastrous report” for Mr Sunak and Residence Secretary Suella Braverman, whereas campaigners referred to as for claims to be processed extra effectively.

Mr Sunak has additionally pledged by the finish of 2023 to clear the backlog of 92,601 so-called “legacy” circumstances which had been in the system as of the finish of June final 12 months.

However in the six months since he made his promise, the determine decreased by lower than 1 / 4 (23%), with 67,870 legacy asylum circumstances awaiting a call as of June 30 2023.

The Residence Workplace insisted the Authorities is “on observe” to clear the legacy backlog by the finish of the 12 months and stated progress has been made since June, citing provisional figures to the finish of July which indicated the complete backlog of circumstances had fallen.

The rise in the asylum backlog is “as a result of extra circumstances coming into the asylum system than receiving preliminary choices”, the division stated.

However the variety of circumstances ready to be handled elevated by lower than 1% in the three months to the finish of June, suggesting the rise is slowing down.

This was “partially as a result of a rise in the variety of preliminary choices made, and a rise in the variety of asylum decision-makers employed”, the Residence Workplace added.

Small boat arrivals accounted for fewer than half (46%) of the complete variety of folks claiming asylum in the UK in the interval.

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