Rising bill for removal flights
More than 100 million of taxpayer's money has been spent flying illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers home on private jets and other planes in the last five years.
By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor
Published: 4:57PM BST 08 Sep 2010
Despite the rising bill the total number of people removed from the UK each year is falling, the Home Office figures show.
In the last year alone, some 28.4 million was spent on flights, a third of which went on private charters, an increase on the 26.8 million spent in 2008/09.
But the total number of removals, either enforced or voluntary, in 2009 was 67,215, down on the 67,980 in the previous year.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch, said: “This is a measure of the difficulties being placed in the way of the Home Office, despite the fact that an effective removal process is fundamental to the credibility of the whole immigration system.”
Figures released to MPs show a total of 109.9 million was spent on flights deporting people from the UK since 2005, including 31.8 million on chartered flights.
The total cost of scheduled and chartered flights includes administration costs and cancellation fees.
Damian Green, the immigration minister, said: “This Government is taking a much tougher approach to immigration.
“We are clear that we will reduce net migration to the levels of the 1990s the tens of thousands rather than the hundreds of thousands we have seen in recent years. And we will take tough action to remove those who have no right to be here, by enforcing returns and beefing up the protection of our border with a new border police force.
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