More asylum-seeking children to come to Bromley under London-wide plan

PUBLISHED: 13:09 03 November 2016 | UPDATED: 13:09 03 November 2016

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children

© Gulay Sakalli

Labour leader Angela Wilkins has called on the council to do more for refugees

More refugee children are expected to arrive in Bromley under a London-wide arrangement to take in people who are seeking asylum.

Last month, London Councils wrote to home secretary Amber Rudd to offer help in settling children who are eligible to come to the UK under the Dubs Amendment.

Bromley Council is a member of an existing scheme to accept unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, meaning the number of those entering the borough is expected to increase.

A council spokesperson said: “Bromley is a member of the London wide arrangement which takes unaccompanied asylum seeking children on a regular basis.

“This is currently around 2/3 children/young people per month. On average we have 17/20 children/young people at any one time. This number is likely to increase to around 50 as the government has now introduced a national dispersal system which will subsume the London scheme mentioned earlier.”

The council has refused to provide voluntary assistance for refugees due to its large homeless population - but Labour leader Angela Wilkins called on it to go further.

“The plight facing Syrian refugees is exceptional - particularly for those evicted last week from Calais and particularly for children,” she said.

“These people have experienced violence and trauma that we in the leafy suburbs can only imagine. And as a relatively wealthy borough, I think we have a moral obligation to help.”

Cllr Wilkins said she accepts that Bromley has a housing problem but blamed the local authority for failing to provide enough homes.

“This situation could have been alleviated had the council been more proactive in making sure that more affordable and social housing is created in the borough,” she commented.

“For one thing, the council allows too many developers to get away with not providing the numbers of affordable units that were part of their planning permissions.”

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