The government is spending £6 million a day on hotel accommodation for asylum seekers

24 August 2023
What was claimed

We’re already spending £7 million a day to put “economic chancers” up in hotels.

Our verdict

The Home Office says that housing asylum seekers in hotels is costing £6 million a day. The £7 million figure appears to be based on a figure provided in October 2022 for the combined cost of hotels for asylum seekers, as well as bridging accommodation for Afghan citizens resettled by the UK government.

“Brits are sick to the back teeth of listening to this woke cabal lecture us on why we should willing bend over backwards to accommodate these economic chancers. We’re already spending £7 million a day to put them up in hotels while Sir Keir’s left-wing lawyer chums file endless legal claims to keep them living the life of Riley.”

In a column published in the Daily Express on 14 August Conservative party deputy chairman Lee Anderson MP said he was angry at “supposed ‘refugees’ who arrive on our shores looking for a handout”, referred to “economic chancers”, and claimed that “we’re already spending £7 million a day to put them up in hotels”.

We’ve asked Mr Anderson about this figure, but at the time of writing we’ve not received a response. 

While it’s not clear exactly which group he is claiming £7 million a day is being spent on housing in hotels, Mr Anderson refers in his column to “asylum seekers”, “illegal immigrants” and “economic chancers”. If he is referring to asylum seekers, or a specific group of asylum seekers (such as those who arrived in the UK via small boat), the £7 million figure is higher than the cost given by the Home Office of housing asylum seekers in hotels.

The Home Office told us “there are currently more than 51,000 asylum seekers in hotels costing the UK taxpayer £6 million a day.”

This is roughly in line with the National Audit Office’s figure of £2.28 billion spent on hotel accommodation for asylum seekers in 2022/23—equivalent to approximately £6.2 million per day.

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£7 million figure

We wrote about the use of this £7 million figure earlier this year, and explained that it appears to be based on figures provided to the Home Affairs Select Committee in October 2022.

The committee heard that approximately £5.6 million a day was being spent on hotel accommodation for asylum seekers.

An additional £1.2 million per day was being spent on hotels (referred to as bridging accommodation) being used to house refugees who have arrived in the UK under the government’s resettlement schemes for vulnerable Afghan citizens.

If this is what Mr Anderson’s claim is based on, it’s not accurate to suggest that £7 million a day is being spent on housing asylum seekers, or people who have arrived in the UK “illegally” as has been suggested on social media, as this figure includes money spent on housing resettled Afghan citizens.

If an MP makes a false or misleading claim in a newspaper article, they should make the publication aware of their error so it can take appropriate steps to correct this.

It’s not clear how the amount being spent on bridging accommodation may have changed since October last year, but it’s worth noting that the government has said that resettled Afghans in bridging accommodation will be moved out by the end of August.

Image courtesy of David Woolfall

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After we published this fact check, we contacted Lee Anderson MP and the Daily Express to request corrections regarding this claim.

Lee Anderson did not respond and the Daily Express did not correct this article.

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