Lord Tebbit, who is always good value, has asked an interesting written question:
"To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 30 March (WA 191) concerning the average cost of deporting an illegal immigrant, what is the cost of not deporting illegal immigrants. [HL2953]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): While research into the costs of illegal migration has been undertaken, this has been conducted with the aim of making general assessments on the impact of such migration, rather than producing definitive financial figures.
The two most relevant recent studies are the report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs regarding the economic and fiscal impact of migration which was published in October 2007 and a Home Office research paper entitled Migration: an Economic and Social Analysis which was published in 2001 and is available on the Home Office website."
Here is the original question, from Lord Roberts of Llandudno:
"To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the average cost of deporting an illegal immigrant. [HL2120]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): It is not possible to provide a comprehensive figure for the average cost of a removal or deportation because there are many different factors which may or may not be involved in the cost of a case, such as detention costs, travel costs and the cost of escorting the individual in question. We are unable to disaggregate the specific costs, and any attempt to do so would incur disproportionate cost. However, the National Audit Office (NAO) gives a breakdown of the cost of typical asylum cases in 2007-08 in part four of its report The Home Office: Management of Asylum Applications by the UK Border Agency, which was published on 23 January 2009.
The table on page 36 of the report sets out 12 typical profiles and the lower- to upper-end estimate of costs either excluding or including accommodation and support costs. For example, profile four estimates the cost of a case resulting in the enforced removal of a single, undetained adult after he or she has exhausted their appeal rights as being between £7,900 and £17,000 excluding accommodation and support or £12,000 and £25,600 including accommodation and support. This report is available to view at the following website at www.nao.org.uk/pubications/0809/management_ of_asylum_appl.aspx. However, the UK Border Agency aims to ensure removals are effected at the lowest available rate subject to operational needs."