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Almost £500m spent to stop migrants crossing the English Channel in the last seven years

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Over the past seven years, nearly £500 million in taxpayers’ money has been spent to prevent migrants from crossing the English Channel, research shows, including huge sums handed over to the French.

  • £473 million spent on security measures to deal with migrants in the canal
  • Defense unveiled 388 crossings from northern France on Thursday
  • Priti Patel is expected to announce a package to hand over an even larger amount to France

According to research, nearly half a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money has been spent in the past seven years to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel.

The total includes huge sums handed over to the French government to prevent would-be asylum seekers from leaving their country.

Figures show £473 million has been spent on a range of security measures and on the initial cost of Priti Patel’s Rwanda asylum deal.

The Ministry of Defense announced on Thursday that there were a further 388 crossings from northern France. Pictured: Migrants arrive in a Border Force Volunteer lifeboat, escorting 90 migrants collected by Border Force in the English Channel on Thursday 4 August

It came when the Defense Ministry revealed there were a further 388 crossings from northern France on Thursday, bringing the total number of arrivals since the start of the year to 17,483.

It does not include a further unconfirmed number of migrants who reached the UK yesterday.

Labour, which compiled the spending figures, said the government has spent just under £230 million on security measures at Calais and other pick-up points in northern France since 2015.

Priti Patel (pictured) is expected to announce a further package later in the summer, likely to hand over an even larger amount to France to boost officials' efforts against migrants

Priti Patel (pictured) is expected to announce a further package later in the summer, likely to hand over an even larger amount to France to boost officials’ efforts against migrants

It included a £54 million deal announced by the interior minister last year that would be spent on bolstering the number of coastal patrols by French authorities.

Miss Patel is expected to announce a further package later in the summer, which is likely to hand over an even larger amount to France to boost officials’ efforts against migrants.

The £473 million also includes £74 million to upgrade the UK Border Force’s cutter fleet, an additional £50 million pledged when the Ministry of Defense took command of UK operations in the Channel in April, and the £120 million given to Rwanda for initial costs.

The amount does not include the £1.5 billion a year it costs to run the asylum system.

Labor immigration spokesman Stephen Kinnock said: “Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are too busy competing to continue Priti Patel’s failing policies and ramp up rhetoric against refugees rather than come up with a plan to tackle criminal gangs that endanger lives.

“The government is spending hundreds of millions without ever coming up with a comprehensive plan and as a result, the number of people making the life-threatening crossing has skyrocketed.”

Labor says they would spend the money on “strengthening the National Crime Agency as part of a comprehensive plan to prevent dangerous canal crossings.”

Labor immigration spokesman Stephen Kinnock (pictured) criticized Home Secretary's 'failing policy'

Labor immigration spokesman Stephen Kinnock (pictured) criticized Home Secretary’s ‘failing policy’

During the period covered by the expenditure, Canal migrants and smuggling gangs have largely moved from clandestine smuggling on the back of trucks to using dinghies and small boats.

There were only 299 reported small boat crossings in 2018. This rose to 8,466 in 2020 and then rose to 28,526 last year.

Interior ministry projections that emerged in January suggested the total would reach 65,000 this year, although it is unclear whether Rwanda’s policies deter migrants.

In June, Matthew Rycroft, the Home Office’s permanent secretary, said the number of overspending MPs “didn’t increase as much as this year’s projection.”

Tory leader Liz Truss last night vowed to ‘make sure France is held accountable’ for his role in stopping migrants crossing the Channel illegally.

Speaking at a hustings event in Eastbourne, the Foreign Secretary said: ‘Now I spoke to my French counterpart last week to make it very clear that we expect French border guards to work all hours in Dover, to ensure our border is cleared. protected .’

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