Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK has said “anyone who calls this justice is a liar” – but the situation is even worse than that.
This vertiginous rise in fees is being imposed not because the administration of asylum and immigration cases requires it, but because the Ministry of Justice is short of a few quid.
The aim, therefore, is to raise £37 million a year with the extra charges – made against people who are likely to have very little money, or none at all. How are they supposed to pay?
It is far more likely that people will be put off making legal applications for asylum or to immigrate here, and will simply try to stay in the UK illegally.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Justice will go without even the money it previously received for asylum and immigration applications and will slip further into debt.
Still, that’s Tory budgeting for you: When businesses run by these rich fools suffer money troubles, they try to squeeze cash out of people who don’t have any.
Asylum and immigration tribunal fees are set to increase by more than 500% in order to help pay off the Ministry of Justice’s funding deficit.
The proposed steep rise in application costs aimed at raising £37m a year is likely to serve as a deterrent to many, preventing those who have arrived in the UK with few resources from challenging decisions to deport them.
Basic fees in the first-tier asylum and immigration tribunals should be increased from £80 to £490 for an application for a decision just on the legal papers, according to an MoJ consultation launched on Thursday. That is more than a fivefold rise.
Fees for a full tribunal hearing should rise from £140 to £800, the MOJ suggests. An extra £455 fee is likely to be introduced to cover applications for permission to appeal to the upper tribunal against first-tier tribunal rulings.
The MoJ said it was “no longer reasonable to expect the taxpayer to fund around 75% of the costs of immigration and asylum proceedings”. Earlier this year the justice secretary, Michael Gove, announced steep increases in probate fees.
This week it was revealed that the MoJ had been forced to borrow £427m from the Treasury last year to cover the cost of a surge in sex offence trials and an unexpected shortfall in fees from other sources.
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