Thursday, 17 Jun 2021

Channel crossings: Councils on rota system to take child migrants as Kent overwhelmed

Migrants arrive in UK as Patel plans tighter asylum rules

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Home Secretary Priti Patel said local authorities must “step up and play their part” in handling the increasing number of unaccompanied child refugees in the UK. According to the Times, Ms Patel is expected to announce that councils who volunteer to look after unaccompanied child refugees will get a share of an extra £20 million of funding.

The new rota system will give local authorities and regions information on how many children they can expect and when, allowing them to plan for the arrival.

The number of child refugees for each council will depend on the size of the child population in the particular region, the capacity of children’s services and the proportion of supported asylum seekers.

Minister are hoping the voluntary scheme will encourage local authorities to help.

Kent County Council and charities have urged the Home Office to make the system mandatory.

The region has been overwhelmed with unaccompanied child asylum seekers.

In the first six months of the year, 242 unaccompanied children arrived in small boats across the Channel.

Only 52 of that figure have been transferred to other local authorities under the voluntary scheme.

The number of migrants attempting the crossing each year is increasing.

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Kent County Council (KCC) warned the Government that they are at “breaking point” and could be forced to refuse any more children “within days”.

KCC Leader Roger Gough said: “Kent residents deserve a resolution to this issue. We still do not have one. The wholly disproportionate strain on Kent’s Children’s Services continues to be overlooked.

“We must ensure that all UK local authorities with capacity share in the support of these children.

“Enough is enough. A robust, long-term solution is well overdue and critical for the future welfare of all children supported by KCC, whatever their background, and the continuation of the excellent services that support them.”

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