Mark Whitehead 08 July 2019

London boroughs warn refugee scheme ‘is not working’

London boroughs warn refugee scheme ‘is not working’ image

The Government scheme for distributing refugee children throughout the country is not working, according to London Councils.

The group says no unaccompanied children were transferred from London through the National Transfer Scheme in the first quarter of 2019, compared to 33 in the same period in 2018.

This has put extra pressure on areas most affected including the Port of Dover in Kent, Heathrow Airport in Hillingdon, the Home Office Asylum Intake Unit in Croydon, Gatwick Airport in West Sussex, and the Ports of Southampton and Portsmouth.

London boroughs estimate 1,800 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children were in their care in the 2018-19 financial year, at least a third of the total number in England.

The councils are calling on Government to fully fund councils to care for the children and make sure Whitehall departments revive the transfer scheme.

Cllr Nickie Aiken, London Councils’ executive member for schools and children’s services, said: 'We urgently need additional funding and an open dialogue with Government to get the National Transfer Scheme up and running again.

'If we cannot commit to supporting unaccompanied asylum seeking children properly, we risk putting them through a second ordeal.'

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