Labour squandered millions of pounds on ‘crazy’ schemes to bribe illegal immigrants to go home, it can be revealed. Home Office papers show how the last government was so wasteful with public money that £13million has gone missing – with officials having no idea how it was spent.
Immigration minister Damian Green has ordered an urgent internal investigation to find out if the taxpayer has been short-changed. The accounts also reveal how Labour:
* Paid £1.2million in bribes to people who never even set foot in Britain
* Gave repatriation grants to migrants from wealthy countries – including the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand
* Lavished thousands on teaching foreign preachers about life in ‘multi-cultural’ Britain
* Sent Afghans on year-long holidays to see if they would like to go home permanently
* Bribed Poles to go home in the same year their country joined the EU, meaning they became eligible to immediately return to the UK
* Handed almost £50,000 to the Ukraine to build a ‘migration advice centre’
* Wasted £25,141 on a cancelled project to support ‘artisans’ in Afghanistan
* Paid £68,235 to China – an industrial powerhouse – to strengthen its migration controls.
The accounts detail how Labour spent almost £80million on schemes designed to encourage failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants to go home.
The payments – denounced as ‘bribes’ by critics – were designed to dramatically increase the number of people being removed from the UK. Ministers decided it was cheaper and easier than border guards tracking the illegal immigrants down themselves and forcibly putting them on a plane.
The Home Office also spent hundreds of thousands on grants to foreign countries so they could improve their border controls, or dissuade their citizens from travelling here.
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘These crazy, badly thought-out schemes should never have received a penny of taxpayers’ money.
‘It’s good that the new government has uncovered this waste and is trying to track down where our missing money has gone, but let’s hope they also step up efforts to deport illegal immigrants more speedily. Confidence in the immigration system needs to be restored, and taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be squandered.’
Last night, Mr Green said: ‘I have launched an investigation into the money provided by the UK Border Agency to the IOM over the past five years. ‘The Agency’s finances are closely monitored, however we must ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent wisely and every penny is accounted for.’