Illegal Immigration: Costs — [Graham Stringer in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall am 12:25 pm ar 7 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery) 12:25, 7 Mai 2024

I will gladly talk about that.

Several speakers today have set out how expensive this is. Not only is illegal migration unfair, not only is it very dangerous, and not only is it criminal exploitation led by evil criminal gangs, but it is incredibly expensive. It is important to remember that the costs are not purely financial. There is also an intangible, but no less significant, impact on our ability to build a strong and cohesive society. As I have explained, there is also the human cost—lives are tragically lost when people make dangerous and unnecessary journeys. I would argue that the Government have a duty to put the evil criminal gangs responsible for this vile trade in people out of business.

Let us not forget the appalling consequences of the incident in the channel just within the last fortnight, in which a young girl lost her life. That is a tragedy of epic proportions and it is impossible for all of us not to be incredibly troubled by what we saw. The fault for that lies squarely with the evil criminal gangs responsible for putting people in small boats, taking their money, having no regard whatsoever for whether they get to the other side safely, and simply treating human beings as cargo. To take a permissive approach on this issue would be an abdication of our moral obligations; it would also be at odds with the wishes of the constituents whose interests we are sent here to advance. It is upon those constituents that the real-world consequences of illegal migration fall, whether through housing and the associated waiting lists, GP appointments, strained public services, and at times challenges with community cohesion.