Boris Johnson’s Govt Cut Immigration Enforcement Spending by £40m as Migrant Crisis Escalated

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) and Home Secretary Priti Patel visit a security control room at the docks in Southampton, southeast England on December 2, 2019. (Photo by HANNAH MCKAY / POOL / AFP) (Photo by HANNAH MCKAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
HANNAH MCKAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government cut spending on migration enforcement by over £40 million as illegal entries into Britain soared, a report from the Migration Watch UK think tank has found.

According to analysis of Home Office spending figures found that despite promises to take a harder line on illegal immigration, the number of Immigration Enforcement officials employed by the government fell by 5,121 in 2018/19 to 4,855 in 2020/21.

The report by Migration Watch UK also found that the total spent on enforcing immigration laws fell by £42 million during the same time period, from just under £462 million to £420 million.

The think tank noted that the government has admitted that the number of illegal immigrants breaking into the country, on the back of lorries or on small boats from France, increased between 2018 and 2020. Indeed the government first declared the migrant crossings a “major incident” back in 2018.

In 2018, 297 illegal migrants arrived in the UK by crossing the English Channel in small rubber boats. The numbers have soared since, jumping to around 1,890 in 2019, 8,410 last year, and over 17,000 in the first nine months of 2021.

In comments provided to Breitbart London, Migration Watch UK chairman Alp Mehmet said: “These figures help to underline how skewed the government’s priorities have become.

“Even as illegal entries rose from year to year, there has been a drop in spending and staffing numbers for the very department tasked with enforcing the law. Especially in light of the worsening chaos in the Channel, there needs to be a huge boost in resources for this task.”

While the government has slashed spending on enforcement of immigration, the Border Force has seen its budget increase by £140 million during the same time, up from £558 million to £705 million, with over 1,100 more agents being added to the payroll.

Migration Watch said that though increased spending on the Border Force is “welcome”, the think tank caveated by noting that Independent Borders watchdog found in late 2020 that the agency was being used more as a “taxi service” for migrants in the Channel rather than protecting the nation’s borders from illegal immigration.

Brexit leader Nigel Farage, who uncovered the scandal of the French Navy handing over boats full of illegal migrants to the Border Force, has also compared the agency to a taxi service, saying in June “Nearly every one of these vessels coming into the UK is being escorted by the French Navy until it gets across into British waters, whereupon Border Force and our magnificent RNLI then act as a taxi service.”

Had the government allocated resources properly, Migration Watch said, then the growing crisis in the English Channel may have been avoided or at least ameliorated.

“The fall in immigration enforcement spending is concerning given that it forms a major part of the government’s new plan – currently before Parliament – to tackle problems such as absconding and increase the removals of those who may pose a risk to the public,” the think tank added.

The cuts in spending on immigration enforcement may have come with a heavy burden on the British taxpayer as well, with the cost of housing alleged asylum seekers rising by 42 per cent to £1.4 billion last year.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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