Children: Asylum

Home Office written question – answered on 24th September 2020.

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Photo of Lord Boateng Lord Boateng Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional funding is available to local authorities to meet the needs of (1) homeless, and (2) unaccompanied child, asylum seekers; and what plans they have to address the impact of disproportionate patterns of settlement on specific local authority areas.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department

(1) Homeless

We provided £4.3 billion to help councils to manage the impacts of COVID-19 which includes their work to support homeless people, including £3.7 billion which is not ringfenced, and £600 million to support social care?and a further £3.2 million in emergency funding for local authorities to support vulnerable rough sleepers.

On 18 July, we launched the Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP). This makes available the financial resources needed to support local authorities and their partners to prevent people from returning to the streets. The NSAP?is?made up of two?sources?of funding: £161?million?to?deliver 3,300 units of?longer-term move-on accommodation?in 2020/2021; and £105 million?of additional funding to pay for immediate?support?to ensure that people do not return to the streets.

£23?million?will be provided so that vulnerable?individuals experiencing rough sleeping, including those?currently in emergency accommodation?as a response to COVID-19,?can access the specialist help they need for substance?dependency?issues, in order to rebuild their lives and move towards work and education.?This funding is part of the £262?million?funding announced at Spring Budget 2020.

274 local councils will share £91.5 million of government funding to ensure interim accommodation and support for the most vulnerable people, including by helping people into the private rented sector, secure interim accommodation such as supported housing, and assess the wider support these people need in order to rebuild their lives. An additional £13.5 million fund will be used to enable local authorities to tackle new or emerging challenges.

(2) Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

In addition to the money paid to local authorities through the local government finance settlement the Home Office provides additional funding contributions to the costs incurred by local authorities looking after unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) and former UASC care leavers. Increases to these contributions for 2020-21 were announced on 8 June.

For each former UASC care leaver supported, local authorities now receive £240 per person per week. This represented a 60% increase to the lowest rate that was previously paid.

Local authorities supporting UASC totalling 0.07% or greater of their general child population receive £143 per person per night for each UASC. All other local authorities receive £114 per person per night for each UASC in their care.

The National Transfer Scheme (NTS) was established in July 2016 to achieve a more balanced distribution of UASC. The scheme was initially successful, achieving nearly 900 voluntary transfers of UASC from entry local authorities between July 2016 and December 2018.

More recently the NTS has not been working as intended and there is a need to achieve a more equitable distribution of UASC. We have therefore worked with local government partners to develop proposals to further improve the NTS. On 28 August we launched an informal consultation with local authorities on these proposals.

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