Robert Jenrick

Ministers will tout progress on ‘stopping the boats’ with plan to cut number of hotels housing asylum seekers

Contracts are set to be terminated with more than 100 hotels so that they are no longer used to house asylum seekers, it will be announced. 

The contracts will be ended in areas considered key election battlegrounds as the government seeks to highlight the purported progress of “stopping the boats”. 

The announcement, which will be given by immigration minister Robert Jenrick, is said to be enabled by the speeding up of asylum claims being processed and the lower than expected numbers crossing the Channel. 

The prime minister had promised his government would clear the backlog of 92,000 asylum claims by the end of this year.

On Sunday, Jenrick said the backlog of asylum cases was “falling rapidly”, reducing the need for hotels to house them.

“When I became minister with the Home Office, we were making 400 asylum decisions a week. We’re now making 4,500 asylum decisions a week”, he said.

The latest published figures showed that 55,477 were outstanding by the end of August. 

However, The Times reports that the figure has fallen to below 40,000 and that Home Office officials are confident of hitting the PM’s target.

This year 26,168 migrants have arrived in 552 small boats. It is down 30 per cent from the 37,603 that crossed by this time last year. 

In August, more than 50,000 asylum seekers were being housed in about 400 hotels across Britain. It was coming at a cost of £8 million per day.

The Telegraph reports that ministers will announce new mass accommodation sites to replace hotels. 

So far, only three have been announced including the Bibby Stockholm barge at Portland Dorset, and the ex-RAF bases at Wethersfield, Essex, and Scampton, Lincolnshire, which are designed to take 3,200 migrants

The close of 100 so-called “migrant hotels” is reported to be the first in a string of announcements by the government, to show ministers are making progress of the PM’s “Stop the boats” pledge, made in January of this year. 

It comes as a date has been pencilled in for removal flights to take off to Rwanda, if the Home Office’s flagship deportations scheme is ruled lawful by the Supreme Court. 

The work is being spearheaded by the Home Office’s new “relocations and returns” unit.

Civil servants have been ordered to gear up for an inaugural charter flight on Saturday, February 24, according to a report in the Daily Mail. 

A decision from the Supreme Court is due by mid-December.

It was reported at the weekend that officials believed it was 60-40 against victory in the judgement.

The £140 million Rwanda deal lays out a plan for how asylum seekers will be transferred to the East African nation to claim asylum there rather than in the UK

If the Supreme Court blocks flights, it will increase pressure on the government to leave the European Convention on Human Rights. is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.