Not only is the government going to spend £2.7bn on implementing the dreadful nationality and borders bill (Refugee group warns of ‘astonishing’ cost of new Home Office policies, 14 February), but it is already spending more than it needs on existing policies.
There are billions that could be saved if it stopped detaining people in immigration detention centres and housed them in the community instead. If it allowed asylum seekers the right to work. If it stopped refusing so many applications, only to have to spend money on defending those decisions and losing over half the cases. If it was more efficient and made faster, fairer decisions to save housing and support seekers of sanctuary for what can be 10 years or more. If only.
Such moves would not fit into a hostile environment, but they would save more than money. Scrapping the bill and implementing the changes listed here would save distress, physical and mental ill health, dignity, agonies most of us cannot begin to comprehend, and even lives.
Member of No To Hassockfield
This article was originally published in the Guardian on 17th February 2022