It has been said that securing the border and controlling migration will, notwithstanding the the announcement today of the government’s Spending Review, remain the UKBA’s foremost priority
Over the next 4 years the agency’s budget will be reduced by up to 20 per cent as a consequence of the Coalition government’s efforts to reduce the public deficit.
It is envisaged that a smaller but more efficient UKBA will balance its books by a mixture of funding provided by the taxpayer supplemented with income from fees for migrants and visitors to the UK.
Additionally, despite the its dwindling budget, the UKBA has vowed that:
“While meeting our international obligations, we will drive down the cost of asylum support and make greater use of technology, focusing efforts on the greatest risks and improving productivity.”
The Secretary of State for the Home Department said that:
“My absolute priority, as Home Secretary, is to ensure that the UK retains its capabilities to protect the public, secure the border and tackle the terrorist threat. We also have a responsibility to reduce the budget deficit and the Home Office must play its part in this … I believe that by improving efficiency, driving out waste, and increasing productivity we can maintain a strong police service, a secure border and effective counter terrorism capabilities whilst delivering significant savings.”
The cuts in public spending are wide-ranging and in the immigration context they represent reducing support costs in the UK Border Agency and improving productivity and value for money from commercial suppliers. The UKBA will also “invest in new technologies to secure the border and control migration at a lower cost. An increasing proportion of the costs of controlling immigration and securing the border will be met by migrants and visitors to the UK. By taking these measures, the agency will save around £500m”.
It is hoped that the present efficiencies of the UKBA will be improved upon in terms of both cost and size.