increasing the number of removals.'' Liam Byrne, Minister for Immigration
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment she has made of the average cost to the public purse of deporting (a) an illegal immigrant and (b) a foreign prisoner with a recommendation for deportation in the last 12 months; 
(2) how much has been spent on deporting (a) illegal immigrants and (b) foreign prisoners in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Byrne: The average cost of the removal of illegal immigrants and foreign prisoners is not disaggregated from the overall costs of the Border and Immigration Agency and therefore not readily available.
In 2007 we removed one person every eight minutes (over 63,000), including a record number of foreign prisoners (over 4,200).
Voluntary returns are always preferable but we will enforce returns where necessary. In doing so, we aim for the lowest available costs. The National Audit Office in 2005-06 estimated the average cost of an enforced removal as £11,000. The report can be accessed at:
We are committed to doubling our enforcement activity by 2010. This includes increasing the number of removals.
Latest published statistics on the total spend in the Home Office are set out in the Home Office Report a copy of which has been placed in both Houses. It is also available to view at:
House of Commons - 11 Mar 2008 : Column 348W