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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the (a) Secretary of State for Education and (b) Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on ensuring that vulnerable children are not exposed to greater risk of county lines recruitment when not in education due to the covid-19 lockdown.
The Home Secretary attends a regular ministerial group, also attended by the Department for Education (DfE) and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which discusses a range of issues related to COVID-19 including the impact on vulnerable cohorts. The Home Office Minister for Safeguarding also has regular discussions with DfE about the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable children, including those at risk of criminal exploitation through county lines.
In addition, the Home Office is working closely with law enforcement partners and charities to monitor the ongoing threat to young people from county lines exploitation. This year, we are investing £20m to uplift the law enforcement response and increase the support available to those affected. This is in addition to continuing to the fund the Missing People SafeCall service which provides specialist advice and support to young people and families who are concerned about county lines exploitation.