William Eichler 21 August 2020

Government tells councils to ‘do their bit’ for child asylum seekers

The Home Office has called on local authorities to do more to support vulnerable children seeking asylum in the UK.

This week Kent County Council warned it had reached its capacity to safely care for any more unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

The council, which has cared for over 1,500 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children since 2014/15, said that it is unable to accept any new arrivals and called on the Home Office to fairly distribute the children to other local authorities.

Speaking on Tuesday, council leader Roger Gough said: 'The stark reality today is that, despite my conversations with the Home Office alerting them that Kent expected to reach safe capacity to meet its statutory duty of care this weekend, 13 new arrivals in the last two days has now tipped the balance and the council simply cannot safely accommodate any more new arrivals at this time.'

A Home Office spokesperson today said that the Government was helping the county council but it was important for other local authorities to take more children in.

‘This is an unprecedented situation,’ they said.

‘We continue to provide Kent County Council with support, including significant increases in funding, but the burden being placed on them is unacceptable and cannot continue.

‘We are grateful to the 53 Local Authorities who have pledged more than 210 places to support our National Transfer Scheme, but we need more to come forward and do their bit for vulnerable children.

‘The Home Office, Department for Education and MHCLG [Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government] are writing to all local authorities, urging them to come forward, play their part and take responsibility.’

For more on this story visit The MJ (£).

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