Government grant for child asylum seekers is ‘unacceptable’

Croydon Council is to contest the central government grant it has been allocated towards the costs of supporting unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, with just £370,000 towards the £3million costs being described as “unacceptable”.

Lunar House in central Croydon handles 10 per cent of the country’s unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

Croydon deals with 10 per cent of UASCs arriving in Britain, but the government has allocated the borough just 2 per cent of the national budget for supporting these often vulnerable youngsters.

Croydon is a “gateway” authority because of the location of the Home Office’s immigration centre at Lunar House, and it looks after the second highest number of UASCs in the country. The pressures of coping with so many young refugees have been seen as contributing to the breakdown of the council’s children’s services department.

Croydon has accommodated more than 4,800 UASC in the last 10 years.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has awarded Croydon Council £370,000 from its £19million Controlling Migration Fund.

“We are absolutely astonished and very disappointed by Croydon’s allocation from the government,” Tony Newman, the leader of the council, said.

Tony Newman: ‘unacceptable’

“The funding formula they have applied appears to be very basic and in no way does it represent a fair way of reflecting the burden faced by local authorities.

“Croydon tax-payers simply cannot be expected to foot the bill for over £3million annually in direct costs of being a gateway borough when this is a national issue.

”We welcome the Government’s decision to make this funding available for these young people, but Croydon’s allocation is completely unacceptable. As these allocations are at draft stage, we are asking them to re-consider.”

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