The Government recently announced that the Dubs scheme will end after resettling only 350 unaccompanied children.
The Home Office have justified its decision to scrap the Dubs scheme by claiming it provided a “pull” to other children around the world who want to get to the UK. This is a shameful, baseless argument which presents these children as economic migrants. We are talking about unaccompanied children, who have left their homes in order to flee conflict and persecution. Children who are now living alone in refugee camps across Europe and who remain at risk of trafficking and abuse.
The Government also claim that local authorities do not have the capacity to house refugee children. In Lewisham, our council has offered 23 foster places for Dubs child refugees but 22 of these places are yet to be filled. It is the Government that has not taken up Lewisham Council’s offer, so far only sending one refugee child. Perhaps other authorities claim to have less capacity? 350 children have arrived so far via the Dubs scheme. That amounts to between 1 and 2 children per local authority across the UK.
It was one day before parliamentary recess and the same day MPs were debating Article 50 when the Government quietly announced its decision to scrap the Dubs scheme. The refugee crisis is being deliberately forced out of the political spotlight and it is important we do not let this happen. I have written to Theresa May about this in the past and this week I asked about the Dubs amendment in Parliament, which you can watch below. My Labour colleagues and I will continue to keep the pressure on the Government to fulfil its duty to vulnerable child refugees.