UK asylum seekers costing country £726,000 a day according to figures

Official figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Daily Express show that the UK is currently spending over £700,000 a day on feeding and sheltering asylum seekers.

With net migration at its highest in 10 years, and with border control struggling to process more than three asylum applications per hour, the true cost of those receiving benefits as they await an outcome on their case has been revealed.

The total amount spent on food and shelter over a period of four years from 2010-2014 was about £1.2 billiion. More recent figures, published for 2013-2014, show that the Home Office paid out £265 million, the equivalent of £726,027, per day.

Official figures not accurate

However, the official figures are not likely to be accurate as they do not account for healthcare, legal aid costs or schooling costs, so the total cost may actually be higher.

Asylum seeker entitlements

Asylum seekers entering the UK illegally are entitled to somewhere to live, a cash allowance, or both as they wait for an outcome on their asylum application. Married couples are provided with £72.62 a week, single parents get £43.94 per week and individuals aged 18 or over receive £36.62 a week. Even those who have their claims rejected receive a payout of £35.39 a week.

Chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, Jonathan Isaby, commented: "Taxpayers will be astounded at this cost. Clearly it would be inhumane not to house and feed individuals while they are waiting for deportation but we have to speed up the process."

Net migration

The release of figures with details of the costs of keeping asylum seekers clothed and sheltered in the UK comes just days after net migration numbers had hit their highest level since 2005. Briefly, net migration is the figure arrived at by taking away people who leave the UK from those arriving in the UK on a long term basis.

Currently standing at 298,000, net migration to Britain has actually increased since Prime Minister, David Cameron, assumed power. This figure represents a massive failure of Cameron's pledge to reduce net migration numbers to fewer than 100,000; many would say a target impossible to reach anyway without leaving the EU. In addition the Government has little control on the number of people leaving the UK.

Pledge to reduce net migration to tens of thousands a year a mistake

Former Home Secretary, Ken Clarke, said: "The 'no ifs, no buts' pledge has been a mistake" he told the Times newspaper. This was the pledge by David Cameron before the last General Election to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands.

He added: "He will have to drop the target. It would not be possible to achieve it without damaging the UK economy quite severely."

Former Tory party chairwoman, Baroness Warsi, concurred with Ken Clarke saying: "Cameron's pledge will damage credibility. If you set yourself unrealistic targets you are setting yourself up to fail and, in the long term, turn the whole thing into a bigger issue by fuelling the perception that the government can't get a grip."