10 March 2023

British Red Cross response to UK-France deal

Christina Marriott, executive director of strategy and communications, said:

"The focus on more detention in today's agreement with France is disappointing. It comes after the government’s proposals to stop people from claiming asylum in the UK earlier this week that we remain deeply concerned about. They would be ineffective, hugely expensive, and contrary to the international laws our country was proud to have shaped. But most of all, this legislation would be devastating for the men, women, and children in need of our help.

“We want to see a fast, fair but compassionate asylum system. But this week’s measures take us in a completely different direction. The government should focus its efforts on addressing the real problems with the system – like inefficiencies that have resulted in a backlog of 160,000 people waiting for a decision on their claim.”


Background: The bill will punish people simply for the way they arrive, when for the very large majority, it is not possible to claim asylum in any other way. If successful, the bill would stop virtually anyone from claiming asylum in the UK even when they are fleeing war or persecution in places like Afghanistan, Syria and Eritrea. But it won’t stop people coming here. The UK will find itself detaining tens of thousands of people, spending £120 a day per person, then forcing them and the taxpayer into a permanent limbo, unable to move on with their lives, contribute here or return home.

Notes to editors

Estimate of the number of people likely to be detained based on Home Office data on the number of people who arrived in the UK by irregular routes in 2022.

Source: Irregular migration to the UK, year ending December 2022

In Q4 2022, the average cost of detention amounted to £120.42 per person. Source: Home Office transparency data, published 23 February 2023 Immigration Enforcement data: Q4 2022

About the British Red Cross

For over 150 years, the British Red Cross has helped people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. With millions of volunteers across 192 countries, the British Red Cross is part of an international humanitarian Movement that’s there for people before, during and after a crisis. Together, we are the world’s emergency responders. www.redcross.org.uk