The British government will use two new barges to accommodate a thousand asylum seekers, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Monday (June 5th), promising to stop the illegal arrival of migrants on small boats.
As part of its plan to tackle illegal immigration, the Conservative government has promised to reduce the bill for hotel accommodation for asylum seekers, which amounts to £2.3 billion (€2.6 billion) a year, by using facilities such as disused military bases or dockside barges.
A first barge previously announced, with a capacity of 500 places, should arrive in the next two weeks, said Rishi Sunak at a press conference in Dover (South-East England). The government will use two more, with an additional capacity of one thousand places, he said.
'Our plan is starting to work'
He also announced the use of two additional sites ashore to accommodate a total of 3000,20 people by the fall. "Our plan is starting to work," Sunak said, saying illegal Channel crossings have fallen 30 percent from a year earlier in a five-month period since his plan was announced in December. Illegal arrivals of migrants to the rest of Europe have increased by <>%, he said.
Rishi Sunak also announced that, where possible, migrants would be asked to share their hotel rooms with others, a measure that he said would unlock 11,500 places and £250 million a year. "And I say to the migrants who are protesting: this is more than fair," Rishi Sunak said. "If you come here illegally, claim sanctuary to escape death, torture or persecution, you should want to share a taxpayer-paid hotel room in central London," he said.