David Burrowes asks about local authorities offering places to unaccompanied child refugees arriving from Europe

27th February 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which local authorities (a) provided and (b) offered places under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016; and how many places were so provided or offered by each such authority. (64078)

Mr Robert Goodwill:

In accordance with the Immigration Act 2016 the Government conducted a comprehensive consultation with local authorities across the UK in order to assess capacity for the care of unaccompanied children. On the 13 May 2016 the then Immigration Minister wrote to all local authorities to provide an update on the launch of the National Transfer Scheme (NTS) and to encourage local authorities to participate in all schemes designed for children. On 7 June 2016 the then Immigration Minister, the Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families and the then Minister with responsibility for Syrian Refugees attended a national launch event in London which was attended by local authorities from across the UK.

This was followed by regional events in Leicester, Exeter, Middlesbrough, Leeds, Huntingdon, Bedford, Birmingham, Manchester, Llandidrod Wells, Edinburgh and two further events in London. These events outlined how unaccompanied children arriving from Europe would be placed into local authority care through the National Transfer Scheme (NTS) for unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) and were attended by representatives from over 400 local authorities.

Following this nationwide programme of events, in September 2016 I wrote again to all local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland asking them to confirm how many unaccompanied asylum seeking children they could accommodate under the NTS. Home Office officials also maintained an ongoing dialogue with individual local authorities and regional Strategic Migration Partnerships.

We asked local authorities to consider carefully whether they have the infrastructure and support networks needed to ensure the appropriate care of these unaccompanied children before participating in the NTS

Local authorities told us they had capacity for an additional 400 UASC until the end of the 2016/17 financial year. This is in addition to the unaccompanied children already in local authority care. We estimate that at least 50 of the family reunion cases will require a local authority placement in circumstances where the reunion does not work out

It is for individual local authorities to decide the number of children they are able to accommodate but we continue to work with those not currently participating in the National Transfer Scheme to support them to do so at the earliest opportunity.

Easter Newsletter

Apart from Cadbury's most people recognise Easter, particularly Christians as we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A dedicated holiday on Good Friday highlights our enduring Christian heritage. As for me I will have contrasting experiences of Easter. On Good Friday I will attend the Greek Orthodox service at St Demetrios Church and join with many hundred in procession around the church. On Saturday 22nd April at 7.30pm I will be taking part in a dramatic presentation at my church in Enfield (www.eefc.net) donning a wig and gown as a Defence Counsel in a case about the evidence for the Resurrection entitled 'Who moved the stone?'

I recognise my Jewish constituents are also celebrating a most significant time in their calendar remembering the Passover. For others it is simply a time to be with the family and eat lots of chocolate! However you will be celebrating Easter, I send you my best wishes.

David Burrowes MP


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