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Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Croydon Council calls for financial help after taking in more than 5,000 unaccompanied asylum seeking children

Amnesty International says the government's Nationality and Borders Bill will only bring more "chaos and delay" to the UK's immigration system. 

The bill has passed its second reading in the Commons.  

It would allow the UK to send asylum seekers to a "safe third country" and to submit claims at a "designated place" determined by the secretary of state. 

The news comes after hundreds of people arrived on the shores on Kent in one day on Monday. 

Meanwhile, Croydon Council is urging the Home Office to address a funding gap in the cost of caring for unaccompanied children seeking asylum. 

Over the last decade the borough has taken in more than 5,000 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. 

They register in the United Kingdom via a Home Office immigration centre, Lunar House,  in Croydon town centre. 

Central government is expected to fund most of councils’ unaccompanied asylum-seeking children’s costs. 

But since 2015 Croydon has paid an excess every year of between £7m and £9m to top up the funding received from the Home Office. 

The council is also calling on the Home Office to make it mandatory for councils nationwide to share the responsibility for new arrivals.

Under government guidelines, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children arrivals should make up 0.07% of each host council’s child population, with councils nationwide taking in the rest. 

If these guidelines were followed, Croydon would have responsibility for 66 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. 

However, there are currently 205 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children being cared for by Croydon Council, plus 439 care leavers who arrived unaccompanied. 

This is over 40% of all children and young people the council looks after.

The National Transfer Scheme (NTS) is currently voluntary, which means other councils are not required to take in children from gateway councils like Croydon or Kent.

Croydon says its annual funding gap to support unaccompanied asylum-seeking children is financially unsustainable and, if left unaddressed, will in future years pose serious risk to the borough’s children’s services.

The report adds that 24 other London authorities have agreed to help ease Croydon’s unaccompanied asylum-seeking children costs by taking caring responsibility for new arrivals in the borough for the next three months. 

posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 9:00 pm  

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