- The UK government announced Wednesday that it has leased a barge to house roughly 500 male asylum seekers on England's south coast — sparking criticism from local groups, refugee charities, and Conservative MP Richard Drax who represents the constituency of South Dorset where the barge will be moored.1
- The Home Office said the vessel will be used "to reduce the unsustainable pressure on the UK's asylum system and cut the cost to the taxpayer caused by the significant increase in Channel crossings." It will house single men while their asylum claims are processed, with the first residents due in the "coming months."2
- This comes as the Home Office revealed last week that it spends over £6M ($7.48M) a day to house more than 51K asylum seekers in over 400 hotels across the country. In other measures to reduce costs, the government stated it was also considering housing asylum seekers in disused cruise ships and military barracks.3
- Meanwhile, charities and human rights organizations have criticized the move as lacking dignity and respect, while Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs have said the plans reflect the Conservatives' failure to tackle the asylum backlog.1
- The number of outstanding asylum claims has increased almost ninefold since 2010, from 19K to more than 166K.4
- Right narrative, as provided by Daily Mail. The UK government is currently spending a staggering £6M a day to house illegal immigrants. Not only would these plans massively reduce these costs, but they would signal to those intending to travel to the UK that Britain isn't a soft touch when it comes to illegal migration.
- Left narrative, as provided by BBC News. These plans could amount to arbitrary detention and breach human rights laws. To house those fleeing persecution and war zones in such conditions is cruel and inhumane. The Conservative government needs to urgently reconsider its course and find alternative solutions, starting with solving the asylum backlog which has ballooned under its leadership.