Leicestershire council asks government to cover child refugee costs

Leicestershire County Council has asked the government to entirely fund the cost of housing 74 child refugees…

The government has been asked to cover the cost of rehoming Syrian child refugees by Leicestershire County Council.

The cash-strapped local authority has to find £1.5m funding to rehome these children.

Both Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council have been told they will need to take in 124 young people from Syria, with the former taking 50 children. Some have been separated from their families, others orphaned. The cost of rehoming 74 children throughout the county could reach £3.25m.

The scheme, Interim National Transfer Protocol for Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children, will only be partly funded by the government, leaving the county council to find a further £1.4m. Currently the authority already has some 370 children it looks after.

Paul Meredith, interim director of children’s services at the county council, said the money supplied by the government was not enough.

Speaking to the Hinckley Times, he said: “We want to support and be party to this scheme to give these young people the best opportunities.

“The issue for us is that financial support we are getting to deliver the programme and the logistical impact this would have on the provision of services for our existing looked children.”

Conservative cabinet member for children’s services councillor Ivan Ould said Immigrtation Minister Richard Harrington’s figure of it costing £20,000 per child is off base.

He said: “I advised him we would find ourselves spending £300,000 per person if they have additional problems, if they were severely traumatised if their families were blown up – £20,000 was quite frankly low.

“It is a matter of regret we are in the position we are in having made the case already directly to a minister.

“We have to really shout from the rooftops about this.

“We want our responsibilities to be properly discharged but where we find £1.5 million in our budget is a real worry.”


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