• Spencer Payne

Home Office Spends £9m On Deportations In 2020

Nearly £9 million was spent by the Home Office on deportation charter flights in 2020, with at least 828 people flown out - which is more than double the 410 removed on charters in 2019.

According to the Guardian, more than £500,000 was also spent on planes that never left the tarmac, with the government department spending a total of £8.2 million on flights to 24 countries, 18 of which were in Europe.

However, the exact number is unclear because the Home Office doesn’t provide specific figures when there are fewer than ten people on a charter, with eleven flights carrying fewer than ten people.

Some of the European flights had people with criminal convictions on board, as well as ‘third country’ removals - mainly asylum seekers who crossed the Channel in small boats and who were sent back to countries in Europe they had passed through in order to reach UK shores.

Director of Detention Action Bella Sankey said: “These lavishly expensive flights make a mockery of good governance and value for money. But even worse than the economic waste, is the harm and pain they’ve funded.”

A spokesperson from the Home Office also commented, saying that the department offers no apologies for removing people who “abuse our hospitality”, adding that it has successfully deported 7,985 foreign national offenders since the start of 2019.

The new plan for immigration includes reformation of the appeals and judicial process to speed up removals of people whose claims are refused, life sentences brought in as the maximum penalty for people smugglers and jail terms of up to five years for foreign criminals who breach deportation orders and return to the UK - up from the current six months.

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