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05.05.16

PM accepts amendment to take more child refugees

David Cameron has partially backed down from his insistence that the UK will not take unaccompanied child refugees from Europe and is now going to talk to local authorities about a plan to accommodate them.

In response to questions from Andrew Robertson, SNP MP, during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Cameron said that the second amendment from Lord Dubs, requiring the UK to increase the number of child refugees it accepts, would be included in the Immigration Bill.

Although he insisted that the UK would “stick to the principle” of taking children directly from Syria and neighbouring countries rather than EU countries, which he said would avoid encouraging asylum seekers to make the dangerous journey to Europe, Cameron added that he was now talking to charity Save the Children to see what could be done for children who came to Europe before the EU-Turkey deal was signed.

Cameron said: “We are going to go around the local authorities and see what more we can do, but let us stick to the principle that we should not be taking new arrivals to Europe.”

Cllr David Simmonds, chair of the LGA asylum, refugee and migration task group, said that the LGA were “ready to play their part” in dealing with the crisis and were already in talks with their counterparts in European countries about the issue.

However, he repeated the LGA’s previous concerns about a lack of long-term funding for any scheme to take child refugees and the unfair dispersal of children, which the LGA has said are currently placing a disproportionate burden on coastal councils such as Kent.

Cllr Simmonds said: “It is vital that the scheme announced today is fully aligned, and funded, alongside this and other existing programmes for resettling refugees, ensuring that councils are able to properly support these vulnerable children while continuing to provide vital services for their local community.”

(Image c. Muhammed Muheisen from AP/ Press Association Images)

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