Home Office has 'little to show' for millions of pounds spend on Rwanda asylum scheme, MPs warn

The Home Office has "little to show" for the money it has used on the Rwanda scheme and "does not have a credible plan", a group of MPs has warned.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the government department had spent millions of pounds so far on the policy and its asylum accommodation plans.

Last month, the government passed a bill to push through the policy which involves sending some asylum seekers who have arrived in the UK illegally to Rwanda to be processed and housed there.

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In a report published on Wednesday, the committee said the Home Office had "continually failed to be transparent with parliament about how many people will be relocated, and the potential costs of the programme".

A High Court judge has ordered the government to confirm the earliest date it will start removals as it faces legal challenges after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said flights would not take off before the general election on 4 July.

Labour have said they will not let any flights take off if they win the election.

The Rwanda scheme is set to cost the government £434m to relocate 100 people, £452m for 200 people and incrementally more as the numbers go up, according to the National Audit Office

The committee, made up of cross-party MPs, made a series of recommendations to the Home Office.

Its report said the department is "spending significant amounts of money on its asylum and immigration policies" but "despite committing significant sums of money to the Rwanda partnership and its large accommodation sites there is little to show for the money spent so far".

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The committee accepted the Home Office's efforts to move asylum seekers out of hotels but found the "assessment of the requirements for setting up alternative accommodation in large sites fell woefully short of reality and risked wasting taxpayers' money".

It added that new sites "will not house anywhere near as many people as initially expected, exacerbating existing accommodation issues".

"We are concerned that the Home Office does not have a credible plan for implementing the Rwanda partnership," the report concluded.

"In its haste to establish large accommodation sites, the Home Office made unacceptable and avoidable mistakes, and failed to protect value for money."

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Labour's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper called it a "damning report" that "confirms the complete chaos behind Rishi Sunak's Rwanda con".

"It makes clear, as Labour has long said, that the Conservatives have no credible implementation plan," she said.

"Rishi Sunak knows his gimmick won't work to stop boat crossings - that's why he has called an election, to prevent the entire scheme from unravelling. He is trying to take voters for fools - and wasting hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money in the meantime.

"Only Labour has a plan to strengthen Britain's borders and fix the broken asylum system."