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Council burden of child asylum
By Jill Sherman 13th November 2007
Town halls will have to raise council tax or cut services to pay for the care of thousands of child asylum-seekers, which costs up to £45,000 a year per child, council leaders say today.
Nine councils will introduce a report at Westminster showing that they are losing out on £35 million a year, because the Home Office and the Department for Education are not providing the cash.
More than 3,200 unaccompanied asylum-seekers under 18 entered Britain last year, some as young as 4 or 5.
Many are orphans or have been smuggled out from their home countries in an act of desperation and councils have a legal duty to look after them.
The councils for Birmingham, Hounslow, Hillingdon, Hammmersmith and Fulham, Kent, Manchester, Oxfordshire, Solihull and West Sussex, claim that foster care can cost as much as £900 a week, and that older teenagers often have to be put up in bed and breakfast accommodation.
Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council, said: “In Kent alone we have accumulated £7.5 million to £8 million in debts in care for unaccompanied minors.”
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