SHIPPING migrants to Rwanda will save Britain money in the longer term, a Home Office minister has insisted.

Tom Pursglove, was defending the UK Government’s new immigration strategy after it was heavily criticised by politicians, churches and refugee charities. 

The scheme, announced yesterday by Home Secretary Priti Patel, will see those deemed to have arrived unlawfully given a one-way ticket to Rwanda.

The central African country will receive a £120m payment and then money for each migrant processed. 

Reports suggest it could be between £20,000 and £30,000 for each person. 

The government hopes the new scheme will deter people from crossing the Channel in small boats.

Mr Pursglove said it would allow migrants to embark on “fully prosperous” lives in the central African country while simultaneously crushing the “cruel” business model of human traffickers.

The Conservative MP argued that, while the short-term costs would be “pretty equivalent” to what the UK is paying currently to accommodate those claiming asylum, the Rwandan scheme would eventually save taxpayers money.

Mr Pursglove told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “There is this £120m payment upfront to establish this partnership and, as we move forward, we will continue to make contributions to Rwanda as they process the cases, in a manner that is similar to the amount of money we are spending on this currently here in the United Kingdom.

“But longer term, by getting this under control, it should help us to save money.

“We are spending £5m per day accommodating individuals who are crossing in hotels.

“That is not sustainable and is not acceptable and we have to get that under control.”

The host asked Mr Pursglove several times if he would happy to move his family to Rwanda. There have been concerns over the human rights record in the country.

The minister said he didn’t think the question "relevant." 

He responded: “I am somebody who is a British citizen and lives in the United Kingdom legally… that is not a direct comparison.”

Mr Pursglove explained: “The situation with regard to Rwanda is that this is a country that has existing relationships with the UNHCR who place refugees in that country.”

Andrew Mitchell, a former Tory international development secretary, said the policy would prove “incredibly expensive”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The problem with the scheme that they have announced is that I don’t think it will work.

“It is impractical, it is being condemned by churches and civil society, it is immoral and, above all for conservative advocates, it is incredibly expensive.

“The costs are eye-watering.

“You’re going to send people 6,000 miles into central Africa, it looked when it was discussed in Parliament before that it would actually be cheaper to put each asylum seeker in the Ritz hotel in London.”

The veteran MP said ministers should declare what the bill would be when Parliament comes to debate the Nationality and Borders Bill again next week.

Mr Pursglove, who appeared on the Today programme shortly after, said it was “impossible to quantify those figures at the moment”.

He said it would “very much depend on the volumes of individuals who are being relocated” and “the length of time they spend in the Rwandan asylum system”.

The government's plan has been criticised by the SNP and Labour. 

Speaking at a campaign stop, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was "one of the most unethical, shameful policies I’ve seen from a UK Government and that’s a big, big statement for me to make."

She added: “It’s bad on its own terms, but the fact that it is being set out at a time when, clearly, the motivation is to distract from partygate I think deepens that sense of disgust people will have and that it’s been deliberately used to try to stoke some kind of culture war.”