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Asylum accommodation & Rwanda: Public Accounts Committee launches inquiry

5 March 2024

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today announces that it will hold an inquiry into asylum accommodation and the costs of the UK-Rwanda Partnership.

The PAC’s inquiry will be based on both the NAO’s factual report on the costs of the UK-Rwanda Partnership, as well as its ongoing report on asylum accommodation, which will set out the facts regarding the Home Office’s current and future plans for accommodating and detaining people who arrive in the UK to seek asylum.

The NAO’s factual report was produced in response to a joint request from PAC Chair Dame Meg Hillier MP and Home Affairs Committee Chair Dame Diana Johnson MP, which raised concerns at a lack of available information on how much had been spent on the scheme.

It covered costs incurred to date and the Home Office’s estimate of potential costs when the Partnership is operational. It made no value for money conclusions, as this would rest on whether the scheme deters people from making illegal journeys to claim asylum in the UK.

Key findings

  • The Home Office would pay £370m to the Rwandan government under the partnership, with further payments to be made of £20,000 per individual relocated and £120m once 300 people have been relocated;
  • The Home Office would also pay a total of £151,000 per individual relocated to cover asylum processing and operational costs;
  • The Home Office is also incurring direct costs in setting up and operating the Partnership, with costs of £20m incurred as at Feb 2024, expected to rise to £28m by the end of 2023/24.

Chair's comment

Public Accounts Committee Chair, Dame Meg Hillier MP, said: 

“Both our Committee and the Home Affairs Committee have long called for a clear accounting of the likely costs of the UK-Rwanda partnership, as one of the Government’s most high-profile policies. We thank the National Audit Office for its service to the taxpayer in laying out the facts proceeding from its investigation.

“It is frustrating that proper transparency has been hindered by these figures not simply being made available to Parliament on request. Our new inquiry will both scrutinise the overall issue of asylum accommodation, as well as seek answers to the questions that now remain on the Rwanda scheme. Whether its value for money or not rests on whether the scheme achieves its aim of acting as a deterrent. The Home Office is on record in front of our Committee that no evidence exists that it will do so.”

Further information