Jane Hutt AM, Deputy Minister & Chief Whip and Julie Morgan AM, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services
On 8 May, the UK government Minister for Immigration, Caroline Nokes MP issued a Written Statement setting out the results of her review of funding levels for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC). Funding is provided by the Home Office to local authorities to support their care of these young people however they arrive in the UK.
The review started in Autumn 2017 and was due to report in January 2018 with the new levels becoming available from April 2018. The levels which were available ranged from £71 per day to £114 per day depending on the age of the young person and the date of their arrival. The review has concluded and from 1 April 2019, the new level is £114 per day for all UASC.
Welsh Government and the WLGA contributed to the review, making the case for full cost recovery. This view was formed on the basis of feedback from Welsh local authorities and research evidence which showed that the funding provided by UK government covered only 55% of the actual costs relating to the care and support of these young people. The funding criteria excludes healthcare and education costs. At a time of austerity for public services, we recognise the difficulties local authorities and partner organisations face in funding all of the work they would like to do.
While the new funding level does represent an overall increase, it is not full cost recovery and it remains that healthcare and education costs are ineligible. The UK government stated that it hopes this increase will enable local authorities to make more placements available for UASC, particularly those that are eligible for transfer to the UK from Europe via the Dubs Amendment. We are aware that there are a number of children that are ready to be resettled here and that Welsh local authorities have been asked to identify placements. Heads of Children’s Services in Wales have previously stated they are keen to accommodate children under the Dubs Amendment and the Welsh Government also welcomes them. We will be keeping in touch with local authorities to find out what the impact of the new funding settlement has been in providing placements for these children.