Lyrid meteor shower 2022: how to watch the peak and other key UK dates

The Home Office is spending more than £1.2 million a day housing Channel migrants and other asylum seekers in hotels, it has confirmed, as Priti Patel said the policy was “thoroughly inadequate”.

The Home Secretary admitted that 37,000 asylum seekers, including Channel migrants and Afghan refugees, were having to be housed in hotels because of severe shortages of local authority accommodation.

Ms Patel said the Government had returned only a “tiny” fraction of those whose asylum claims had been ruled inadmissible because of Covid travel restrictions and the refusal of countries to take them back.

In an attempt to slash the bill, ministers are proposing to house up to 30,000 Channel migrants in temporary camps built by the Army. Although the project will cost tens of millions of pounds, ministers say it will be cheaper than a potential £400 million annual bill to house such numbers in hotels.

On Wednesday, the Home Office confirmed that a former military barracks in Manston, on the Isle of Thanet in Kent, will open to process the increasing number of people crossing the Channel by boat. A spokesman said it was “ready to support onward processing of those arriving”.

2021 has seen a spike in Channel migrant crossings

Ms Patel has also put plans for a network of reception centres at which migrants will be detained while their asylum applications are handled out to tender.

She is in talks with Suella Braverman, the Attorney General, about the potential restrictions that could be placed on people’s movements, including curfews and registration checks in the centres to prevent them absconding.

Channel migrants held in new purpose-built reception centres will have to obey strict rules or risk losing their right to claim asylum.

Last month 1,347 people reached the UK across the Channel – six times as many as had come ashore in the same month last year. It followed a record 28,400 who crossed last year, triple the number in 2020 – figures Ms Patel described as “horrendous”.

The Home Secretary said Emmanuel Macron, the French president, was “absolutely wrong” to blame Britain for the migrant crisis in the Channel. She rejected comments in which he said Britain’s reliance on “illegal” immigrant labour was behind the surge in numbers leaving France.

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