Councils call for more funding to care for child refugees

Councils are calling for more funding to help with the cost of caring for children who have been displaced from their homes…

The UK is set to receive more child refugees, which will place pressure on councils or see services scaled back unless more funding is provided.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils across England and Wales, said councils would make available spaces for these children, but how many would depend upon funding.

Currently most children are placed where they arrive, which is predominately in Kent or near Heathrow Airport, but more children will require more support.

Hillingdon Council is one local authority that cares for children arriving at the airport. Deputy Leader Councillor David Simmonds said: “Unless there’s additional funding in the system we’ll need to see either increases in council tax to pay for supporting refugee children or we’ll see local councils cutting other services.”

The government is set to provide more money to support unaccompanied refugee children from July, with some £41,600 a year to be allocated for those under 16. However, Simmonds said the true figure needed was closer to £50,000.

The government had only planned on accepting child refugees from beyond the EU, but it did finally concede to resettle those registered in Greece, Italy or France before 20 March. This is in addition to a scheme to settle 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK by 2020.

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