Ministers will end the use of 100 migrant hotels by spring after making “progress” in tackling the small boats crisis.
A rapid increase in clearing the asylum backlog and a fall in the number of Channel crossings means the government is confident it can reduce the £8 million a day accommodation bill.
Greater use of former military sites and the reopening of the Bibby Stockholm barge are also freeing up space, according to Whitehall insiders.
A source said: “That’s for the first tranche of exits, but we’re confident we can do more as we continue to make progress.”
The first hotels returned to normal use will be in key election areas such as Stoke, it has been claimed. Small boat crossings are down more than a quarter compared to last year, from 37,575 to 26,116.
The government is also increasing the number of asylum seekers at the Wethersfield site in Essex, which can hold 1,700 people while Scampton, Lincolnshire will hold 2,000.
Border Force officers yesterday (MON) intercepted the first small boats crossing in a week. Men, women and children were brought ashore after making the journey in at least four boats.
The migrants wore life vests and were wrapped in blankets as they came off the patrol boat at Dover, Kent, to be processed by the Home Office.
The boats arriving are the first since October 16 when 185 people were brought ashore from six small boats.
The crossings come after the Home Office announced on Friday that an annual cap on the number of refugees accepted in the UK would be launched in January 2025.
Local authorities are being invited to set out their “capacity” to accommodate people coming to Britain via safe and legal routes in order to determine the limit, the department said.
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