Refugee children need more councils like Brighton and Hove, says Home Office

Posted On 30 Jul 2021 at 12:10 am

The Home Office said that refugee needed more local authorities like Brighton and Hove City Council to give them help and support.

The comments came after Hove MP Peter Kyle and council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty criticised the way the government’s approach to the problem.

They accused the Home Office of placing 60 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in a hotel in Hove with almost no notice.

The Home Office said: “We are working around the clock engaging with local authorities such as Brighton and Hove to seek a permanent place for these children across the UK.

“Many local authorities have already come forward and provided places over recent weeks and we are really grateful for the support.”

The government stepped up its efforts after Kent County Council said that it could no longer look after any more unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

Last night (Thursday 29 July) the government said: “The asylum system is being exploited by criminal gangs who facilitate dangerous, unnecessary and illegal small boat crossings.

“Our Nationality and Borders Bill will fix this broken system to deter these dangerous and illegal crossings.

“To meet our legal duties, additional temporary accommodation is being used to house asylum-seeking children in safe and secure accommodation before placements can take place through the ‘National Transfer Scheme’.

“The Home Office continue to work with all local authorities as well as the Department for Education to ensure needs are met.”

The Home Office said: “Young people (both unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and family groups) are prioritised on their arrival at the Kent Intake Unit to ensure that they remain for the shortest possible period while the necessary welfare and security checks are undertaken, following which they are collected by a local authority and cared for by social services.

“We are working around the clock engaging with local authorities such as Brighton and Hove to seek a permanent place for these children across the UK.

“Many local authorities have already come forward and provided places over recent weeks and we are really grateful for the support.

“To further support local authorities, we recently announced vital updates to the National Transfer Scheme, including more than £20 million of new funding.

“The new national voluntary rota started on Monday. The new scheme has been intentionally designed to address key barriers to local authority participation and therefore local authorities can be confident in participating.

“The Department for Education and Home Office are working closely together to ensure that the needs of newly arriving unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are met and that permanent placements are secured for them at the earliest opportunity.

“Unacceptable numbers of people are making life-threatening journeys crossing the Channel at the hands of criminal trafficking gangs. These boats are often carrying unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

“We take the welfare of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children extremely seriously and despite these pressures are committed to ensuring our short-term holding facilities are safe, secure and humane and follow the latest guidance from Public Health England.

“Our efforts remain focused on ensuring every single unaccompanied child receives appropriate support and care while we seek a permanent place for them with a local authority.

“Over 170 children have been transferred from Kent to another local authority since 14 June 2021.

“But we need more local authorities to step forward to provide placements for these vulnerable young people and play their part in this shared national responsibility.”

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