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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Steph Brawn

SNP slate 'colossal' £3.5bn spending on 'broken' asylum system

THE SNP have critcised plans to spend a 'colossal' £3.5 billion on an asylum system they believe is failing people from war-torn countries.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced on Wednesday the UK Government will spend £3.5 billion on the asylum system in a year as she confirmed plans to house migrants on disused cruise ships were being considered.

Braverman said £2.3bn of the total bill for 2022/23 will go towards paying for hotels.

She also discussed the “incredibly difficult” challenge of hitting the ambition of getting 100,000 asylum seekers into local authority accommodation – as opposed to resorting to hotels – with that figure currently at 57,000.

The SNP's Home Affairs spokesperson Alison Thewliss has slammed the amount of cash the UK is splashing on a system that "does not work".

She said: "Once again, the UK government are prepared to waste a colossal sum of taxpayers' money on a system that, quite simply, does not work. 

"Instead of offering safe and legal routes to those fleeing war-torn countries or facing prosecution - or prioritising tackling the monumental backlog - both the Tories and Labour remain hell-bent on playing up to the hard-right Brexit obsessed percentage of the country.

"Only by choosing independence can Scotland create an immigration system that centres around security, protection and dignity from the minute people step foot on these shores."

Last month, Braverman admitted there were no safe and legal routes for many people to apply for asylum in the UK during a car-crash grilling.

She failed to tell a panel of MPs how an orphaned African teenager – with a sibling in the UK – would be able to apply for asylum from their home country.

At the Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Alistair Carmichael, home affairs spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, also branded the asylum costs “astronomical” and warned that the “ludicrous proposals” to house asylum seekers on cruise ships will be “ineffective and incredibly expensive”.

During the session, Braverman also suggested she has yet to find a new airline to deport migrants to Rwanda.

Braverman told peers: “We have a lot of ongoing discussions with several airlines.

“We are returning people almost every week to various countries around the world. We do that through scheduled flights, we charter flights … so we’re in a variety of discussions with several airlines for lots of different destinations.”

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