Immigration officials – four times more expensive

Immigration officers spent £10.5 million on taxis, hotels, train and air travel in the past year 03 November 2008. The UK Border Agency spent £10,520,541 on travel accommodation and hospitality last year, more than four times the £2.5 million spent in 2003/4. Expenses by the UK Border Agency included £1.7 million on air travel and more than £4 million on hotels.

Taxi fares rose from £359,000 four years ago to £730,000, train travel from £732,000 to more than £3.2 million.

Shadow Immigration Minister Damian Green, who obtained the figures, said: "Serious questions need to be asked as to why there has been an explosion of spending inside the UK Border Agency.

"The hospitality budget is nearly six times as high as it was four years ago. Who do they need to entertain so much? Such waste will be a bitter pill to swallow for hard-press families struggling with the mounting cost of living as the credit crunch bites."

Matthew Elliott of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: "This is a disgraceful amount of money to squander.

"The Borders’ Agency need a wake-up call: this money doesn’t grow on trees, it comes from the pockets of hard-pressed taxpayers.

"Perhaps if they spent more time in the office and less time swanning around at our expense then our border controls wouldn’t be in such a mess."

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "The cost of travel reflects the size of the 18,000-strong agency which operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

"Last year our enforcement teams helped boost the number of illegal working operations by 40 per cent."

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