Asylum seekers in Wales will get a £1,600 monthly payout in Wales under plans put together by Labour. Young migrants would receive universal basic income, without being deprived of legal aid under the plans. The Government would effectively be paying them both living costs and lawyers’ fees to prevent them from being deported.
A letter seen by the Sun showed three Labour ministers in Wales backing the plans.
Jane Hutt, Julie Morgan and Mick Antoniw penned a letter to the Conservative Justice Minister, Lord Bellamy, asking for the go-ahead.
Their plan will see migrants who arrive unaccompanied as children to receive universal basic income from age 18.
But there are concerns from Welsh Labour that participation in the scheme could “impact on unaccompanied child asylum seekers’ eligibility for legal aid, in particular, the means testing element”.
James Roberts, from the Taxpayers Alliance, said: “Legal aid is rightly means tested.
“Illegal immigrants should not be allowed to claim this cash.”
A spokesperson for the Welsh government said: “We want to ensure unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are not prevented from accessing schemes and benefits.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Last year we spent around £30million on legal aid for asylum seekers and we will respond to the letter in due course.”
This week it was revealed that hotel use for migrants will continue, despite pledges from the Government to end their use.
Some hotels are being turned into “longer-term” accommodation, as hotel owners are negotiating deals with the Home Office.
In January, Rishi Sunak vowed to “end the appalling situation where taxpayers are paying to keep illegal migrants in hotels”.
The Telegraph revealed that the 170-year-old Great Northern Hotel in Peterborough is set to be converted into “longer-term contingency accommodation” for asylum seekers.
The Home Office is also negotiating the reopening of a disused hotel in the centre of Worthing, West Sussex, to house asylum seekers.
Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick earlier this month admitted that the Home Office needed to “use emergency accommodation hotels for a longer period than originally envisaged and this has resulted in the conversion of this hotel to longer-term contingency accommodation”.
Earlier this month the Government unveiled plans to house 500 migrants in a barge off Dorset.
The three-deck Bibby Stockholm would be moored off Portland for at least 18 months.
The vessel could host 500 men at a daily cost of £50 each and help “stop the boats”, the Prime Minister said.
While the UK has announced plans to send illegal migrants to Rwanda, they are yet to materialise.
Campaign groups have expressed concerns about the plans, with Human Rights Watch calling for the Government to abandon the scheme.
They expressed “grave concerns”, warning that “Rwanda cannot be considered a safe third country to send asylum seekers to, with Human Rights Watch and other actors, including the United States Government, having routinely reported on the serious human rights violations in Rwanda.”