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Hackney mayor rubbishes government's claim councils have no space for child refugees

PUBLISHED: 12:29 09 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:29 09 March 2017

Philip Glanville says Hackney offered to house 17 child refugees but the govenrment declined. (Picture: Adrian Pope)

Philip Glanville says Hackney offered to house 17 child refugees but the govenrment declined. (Picture: Adrian Pope)

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The Hackney mayor has hit out at the government after it blamed councils for not offering places to child refugees.

The Home Office has announced it is effectively closing the “Dubs scheme”, which aimed to bring in 3,000 lone children from camps across Europe.

The reason given was that councils had no more space to take them in, but that claim has been fiercely shot down by many authorities, including Hackney.

MPs were on Tuesday defeated in their attempt to secure an amendment to the Child and Social Work Bill. It would have required councils to publish their capacity to take in child refugees, in effect proving the government was wrong.

Mr Glanville and Cllr Rebecca Rennison wrote to home secretary Amber Rudd last month urging her to reconsider closing the scheme.

The mayor has now said the borough, which at the moment houses 25 refugee children, had offered to support 17 more under the scheme, but the Home Office turned down their request.

“We urge the Home Office to see sense and allow councils to continue to play their part in supporting the innocent victims of the humanitarian crisis which is continuing to devastate lives in Syria.

“Hackney has a proud history of offering a safe haven to those most in need and we continue to support a number of unaccompanied children and young people who have arrived here in more recent years.

“We strongly rebut the government’s claims that councils have not been forthcoming with support. In fact, when the Calais camp closed, we offered to look after seven children straight away, but the Home Office declined to take up our offer.

“We stand ready and prepared to help and have measures in place to support children if and when they arrive. This would not be a short-term commitment. We need central Government to give assurances that long term funding would be available to enable us give these children the high level support they need over the coming years – and of course to keep the Dubs scheme open.”

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