https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2017/03/07/government-response-to-amendment-on-the-childrens-and-social-care-bill/

Government response to amendment on the Children's and Social Care Bill

MPs today (Tuesday 7 March) voted on an amendment tabled by Heidi Allen MP for the Children's and Social Care Bill which was in the House of Commons for report stage and third reading.

The amendment intended to mandate local authorities to assess their capacity to safeguard children in their area, including unaccompanied refugee children.

The amendment did not specify the Government to continue Section 67 of the Immigration Act.

The amendment was defeated by 287 votes to 267.

The Government response is set out below.

A Government spokesperson said:

We are very grateful for the support local authorities provide to the asylum system - there are more than 4,000 unaccompanied children currently being cared for across the country and thousands more arrive in the UK each year.

 

Government departments will continue to work closely with councils to source more places for the most vulnerable children. And we urge more local authorities to join the National Transfer Scheme to relieve pressure on areas where numbers are greatest.

 

The UK's doors will remain open to those who need our protection. We have a proud history of providing sanctuary - and local authorities will continue to play a vital role.

 

Additional information

This amendment would not have required the Government to continue Section 67 of the Immigration Act. It asked that local authorities periodically identify and report to Parliament about their capacity to support the welfare of children, including unaccompanied refugee children.

The commitment to transfer 350 unaccompanied children from Europe under Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 is only one way we are helping - last year we provided refuge or other forms of leave to over 8,000 children.

Since we established the National Transfer Scheme last July over 250 children have been moved to relieve pressure on local authorities whose services were being stretched by the large numbers of unaccompanied children.

We will consider all offers of placements from local authorities to house children who arrive here and claim asylum and those already here and need support.

Local councils like Kent and Croydon are already caring for several hundred children above their threshold.

With all of our resettlement schemes we work closely with UNHCR to identify cases that they deem most in need of resettlement according to their established vulnerability criteria.

We can be proud of what we have achieved so far. In 2016, we transferred over 900 unaccompanied children to the UK from Europe, including more than 750 from France as part of the UK's support for the Calais camp clearance. Fewer than 10 of the 750 children we brought to the UK were Syrian.