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UK councils offered cash to take in asylum-seeking children for the long term

City councils and other UK local authorities are being offered cash incentives to take in extra asylum-seeking children (UASC) on a long term basis.

The Government currently spends more than £5 million a day accommodating asylum seekers and Afghan refugees in hotels, including many UASC.

These changes, part of a new plan for handling immigration, will mean that these young people will spend less time in hotel and more time in long-term, more suitable accommodation that is better designed for their needs.

The government says it is ‘working at pace’ to end the use of hotels for asylum seekers and fix what it calls ‘the broken asylum system’. While it acknowledges there is no one single solution, it says it is delivering a broad range of measures to tackle illegal migration and the pressures it has put on the UK’s system.

‘Accommodation better designed for their needs’

Kevin Foster, Minister for Safe and Legal Migration, said: “The government cannot deal with the impact of the rise in dangerous and illegal small boat crossings alone which is why I welcome the support from councils to help us reduce the cost of hotels and quickly move unaccompanied asylum-seeking children so they receive the care they need.

“Any council which moves a child from a hotel to their care under the new scheme will receive support funding of £6,000 per child for the first three months to give them the best possible start.”

Under the new arrangements once a referral is made under the National Transfer Scheme, councils will have five working days rather than 10, to transfer an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child from hotel accommodation to their care. On top of the extra £20 million of government funding announced last year, councils will receive new funding to help them deliver the changes to the scheme.

‘£6,000 per child for councils’

Councils will receive an additional £2,000 per child per month for the first three months if they move a UASC from a hotel to a placement within five working days. Following this councils will continue to receive up to £143 a day to support any UASC and £270 per week for all former UASC care leavers in their area.

The UK Home Office has made further changes which means councils have to work to create placements based on a minimum of 0.1 per cent UASC as a percentage of their overall child population. The changes will mean that children are fairly distributed between councils.

Click here for more on this new UASC funding arrangement to councils.

Author: Simon Weedy

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