Refugees: Children

Home Office written question – answered on 25th May 2016.

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Photo of The Earl of Sandwich The Earl of Sandwich Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which local authorities have offered places to unaccompanied refugee children from (1) Europe, and (2) Syria, and which councils other than Kent County Council have already filled their quota.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Parliamentary Under-Secretary

As the Prime Minister announced on 4 May and as set out in the new Immigration Act 2016, we will work to admit unaccompanied refugee children from Europe to the UK. The very nature of this legislation means we must take the time to consult others before bringing final proposals on how to implement this scheme.

We will consult local authorities to establish how best to implement this commitment and the recently announced Children at Risk resettlement scheme, which is the only other resettlement to include unaccompanied children, as part of our wider discussion with them about the transfer of unaccompanied asylum seeking children who have arrived spontaneously, which is designed to relieve the pressure on authorities such as Kent. We are not proposing to ask local authorities to distinguish between which unaccompanied children they accept.

We are determined to ensure that no local authority is asked to take more than the local structures are able to cope with. That is why we are talking to local authorities and other partners including non-governmental organsations to ensure that capacity can be identified and the impact can be managed in a fair and controlled way.

Work has already begun and we are committed to act as quickly as we can but it is important we take the necessary time to ensure we have the capacity to resettle and support those who are resettled. We must also ensure that we fulfil our obligations to children who are already in the UK.

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