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Of 31 people originally scheduled to be on board, no more than seven are currently set to be taken, pending any further last-minute reprieves from the High Court reducing that number further still.
The UK is reportedly paying Rwanda an initial £120million for its role in the partnership, signed by Home Secretary Priti Patel in April. A statement from No10 describes the east African country as having “one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa which is recognised globally for its record on welcoming and integrating migrants.”
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has insisted the policy is “completely moral”, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously heralded it as a “very considerable deterrent” to criminal gangs using dangerous methods to bring people to the UK.
Responding to claims today’s flight alone will cost around £100,000 per person being deported to Rwanda, No10 compared this to currently spending “almost £5 million a day accommodating asylum seekers in hotels in this country” and the need for a “long-term solution”.
The plan is to trial the Rwanda relocation scheme for five years. However, a further challenge will be heard by the Supreme Court in July – and should it be successful in finding the Government’s policy to be unlawful, assurances have been made of steps being taken to bring back any migrants who were flown to Rwanda in the interim.
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