Naked Politics Blogger
The current situation in Calais is dominating the news at present. I have not completely disregarded the moral issues pertaining to the migrant crisis; I am fully aware these people are human beings and need to be treated as such. Nevertheless, here are some of the key facts and figures I have gathered to help you understand the scale of the situation.
- Nine – Current death toll attempting to gain access from the UK from Calais since June.
- 3,000 – Approximate number of Migrants camped in Calais.
- 629 – The number of unaccompanied children seeking asylum that require care from Kent county council.
- 70% – The number of migrants processed in Calais that leave within the first 4 months.
- 37,000 – Attempts to cross the Channel illegally since January.
- 4,900 – The number of “Intrusions” to the Channel Tunnel last week.
- 16 – Number of years migrants have been living in Calais.
- 16ft (5m) – The height of the fence topped with razor wire protecting the port.
- 25,000 – The amount of applications for asylum in the UK from March 2014 – March 2015
- £4m – The amount in fines haulage companies and lorry drivers have been ordered to pay this year, an Increase of 50% on last year.
- 3,300 fines issued in 2014-15 an increase of over 1000 from 2013-14.
- 5,000 – Number of Lorries parked on the M20 in Operation Stack.
- 112 – Number of police officers deployed to deal with Operation Stack.
- £1m – Approximate cost per month of Operation Stack.
- £1.5m – The estimated cost to the economy everyday due to the migrant crisis.
- £9m – The amount pledged to improve security at Calais.
What does this all mean for the UK and what needs to be done about it?
It is having a pretty major impact on the UK economy. The numbers show a vast amount of money is being lost and wasted, lorries are having to abandon contaminated and gone off goods, Britain is losing vast amounts of money in tourism and businesses are struggling to cope with the delays and loss of earnings. The Freight Transport Association estimates that UK haulage companies caught up in Operation Stack are losing up to £700,000 a day with a potential impact of £250m to the UK economy.
Harriet Harman has said that David Cameron and his government have been “woefully slow” in dealing with the crisis. Others have criticised Cameron’s efforts stating he is merely “plastering over the cracks.” Are a few more sniffer dogs and higher fences really going to solve the issue? Some have even raised the question of what motive the French government actually have in stopping migrants reaching the UK. How much money, time and effort should we spend rectifying this problem?
Maybe you share Nigel Farage’s view that Britain should send in the army to solve the issue? Or perhaps you agree with Steve Uncles whose “cost-efficient” solution was to “set up a machine gun and take out a few people”. Obviously not! However there has been little in the way of strong government action on the issue and the more it rumbles on the more it is going to impact the UK, both financially and as it continues to stretch our security resources. I would be interested to find out your opinion on the migrant crisis and how Britain goes about curbing the constant attempts to enter the country illegally.