Kent County Council will receive extra funding from the UK Government to accommodate more lone asylum seeking children, the High Court has heard.
Home Office lawyers said on Friday “an immediate cash injection” of £9.75m would help Kent County Council (KCC) to increase capacity.
It comes in the wake of KCC appealing for help after saying it was overwhelmed with the number of children it was trying to support. Last month the authority warned of a local care crisis saying that it could not cope with the demand. KCC said it continued to take “all possible steps” to accommodate all children.
An anti-trafficking charity has criticised the continued use of hotels to house children. Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT) told the hearing the proportion of unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) housed in Kent hotels was “growing” despite the practice being ruled unlawful in July.
Judge Mr Justice Chamberlain said KCC and government ministers should agree a plan to ensure the local authority was meeting its obligations.
Lawyer Deok Joo Rhee KC said the Home Office was “reasonably confident” a new funding arrangement with Kent County Council could be put in place by the end of October and it had “not underestimated” the challenges the local authority faced.
She said the cash would help the council increase capacity, with the Government committed to bringing about “improvements to the speed of transfers” of children between areas which were a “necessary and important part of the solution”.
The government always seem to be able to find money for immigration but never for Brits
There is anger after the news was announced. Social services and childrens services have been cut back in Kent due to lack of funding. Yet once again, the UK Government have managed to find some additional money ‘down the back of the sofa’ when it comes to asylum seekers. The people of Kent are wondering why it is that foreign citizens are being given preferential treatment above their own?
Most children seeking asylum in the UK arrive by small boats in Kent, where the council has a legal duty to look after them.
As of 6th September 2034, the council had taken into its care almost 80% of unaccompanied youngsters arriving in Kent since 27th July. The children the council had not being able to accommodate included 15 lone youngsters, 12 over the age of 16, who require isolation due to suspected diphtheria.