The government’s New Plan for Immigration aims to help unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, by directing all local authorities with children’s services to provide care placements for them.

It will make the National Transfer Scheme for such children mandatory for local authorities with children’s services.

Until recently, many councils did not accept the transfer of children, resulting in significant pressure on the few that did.

The decision to mandate the scheme will ensure unaccompanied children receive the critical care they need and end the use of hotels for them.

In December, the Government directed 177 local authorities to take part in the mandatory scheme, meaning they received legal notices setting out that they would now be required to accept transfers of unaccompanied children.

Ministers say that since then, there have been tangible improvements both for the vulnerable children and the local authorities already involved, including youngsters being moved from hotels to permanent accommodation.

The Minister for Safe and Legal Migration, Kevin Foster, has now written to the final group of 29 local authorities and directed them to take part.

He said: “Mandating the scheme has already led to additional placements but we know there is more work to be done.

“The Home Office takes a range of factors into account when deciding the number of children that will be allocated to a specific local authority, including the proportion of unaccompanied children.

“A local authority will not need to accept unaccompanied asylum-seeking children where this cohort already makes up 0.07% or more of their general child population. When numbers fall below this level, they will begin to receive children through the mandatory scheme.”

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