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Cheaper to fly people to space than send an asylum seeker to Rwanda, MPs told

18 Mar 2024 2 minute read
The Hope Hostel accommodation in Kigali, Rwanda has been earmarked as accommodation for migrants from the UK. Photo Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Flying six people to the edge of space is cheaper than the UK sending one failed asylum seeker to Rwanda, MPs have heard.

The Government was mocked over the cost of the stalled deportation scheme as MPs considered amendments made by peers to the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill.

Labour MP Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) told the Commons: “Is the minister aware that Virgin Galactic can send six people into space for less than this Government wants to spend sending one person to Rwanda?

“Is it not time to rethink this absurd policy and extortionate cost?”


Home Office minister Michael Tomlinson questioned why so few Labour MPs attended a debate last week to discuss the cost of the scheme, adding: “That shows the priority – or the lack of priority – which those opposite give to that.”

The scheme could cost taxpayers nearly £2 million for each of the first 300 asylum seekers sent to Rwanda, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

Virgin Galactic

Tickets for Virgin Galactic flights initially went on sale for around £158,000 each and last summer cost around £356,000 per person – putting the cost of six space tourists at £2.13 million.

Shadow Home Office minister Stephen Kinnock also remarked on the costs after Mr Coyle’s comparison, telling MPs: “That really does show that the Rwanda plan is a galactically wasteful policy.”

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 months ago


3 months ago

Don’t give them ideas!

3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

You said it first but many of us thought just that.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
3 months ago

The cost of the Rwanda policy is extortionately expensive and an incredible waste of money! On an ‘per individual’ basis it ranges from around £96,000 up to around £228,000, with a total cost from £1.1 billion up to £3.9 billion. In addition, because the tories are so eager to have flights take place (to fool the public into thinking the policy ‘works’) there is a separate scheme to pay failed asylum seekers £3000 to voluntarily be moved to Rwanda! This cannot be good value for taxpayers. And according to the i newspaper the home office were calling failed asylum… Read more »

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