Government must reactivate scheme to disperse child migrants across UK

Government must reactivate scheme to disperse child migrants across UK, warns Kent County Council leader – as 178 unaccompanied youngsters land at Dover so far this year

  • Council is now the ‘sole carer’ of unaccompanied youngsters smuggled into UK
  • Priti Patel has been urged to reactivate the National Transfer Scheme (NTS)
  • It rehoused children to the care of other councils  

The Government must revive a programme to disperse migrant children throughout the UK, the leader of Kent County Council warned last night.

Conservative councillor Roger Gough said the local authority was now the ‘sole carer’ of unaccompanied youngsters smuggled into Britain on dinghies and rafts.

Mr Gough has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel urging her to ‘reactivate’ the National Transfer Scheme (NTS), which previously rehoused children to the care of other councils.

The Government must revive a programme to disperse migrant children throughout the UK, the leader of Kent County Council warned last night

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, Mr Gough said the number of children arriving on Kent’s shores had doubled over the past 12 months. So far this year, 178 unaccompanied children have landed at Dover and were placed in the care of the council.

Mr Gough said: ‘What we are seeing is arrivals on a scale which we in Kent certainly cannot cope with.

‘We are in the process of having to double up, getting two people to share a room. In Covid-19 times, it is absolutely not what we want to be doing.’

While adults and families arriving in Dover can automatically be dispersed to other parts of the country, unaccompanied children are usually cared for at their point of arrival.

The Home Office launched the NTS in 2016 but Mr Gough says the scheme has ‘dried up’. Last night, the Home Office insisted that NTS was still ongoing, but needed ‘invigorating’.

Conservative councillor Roger Gough said the local authority was now the ‘sole carer’ of unaccompanied youngsters smuggled into Britain on dinghies and rafts

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