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KCC chiefs to meet immigration minister and discuss £4.5m overspend on unaccompanied asylum seeking children

PUBLISHED: 15:26 31 October 2017

KCC is struggling to cope with the costs of caring for unaccompanied asylum seekers

KCC is struggling to cope with the costs of caring for unaccompanied asylum seekers

Constantinis

The council said money it receives for so-called care leavers is “wholly insufficient”

Chiefs at Kent County Council are today meeting the government’s immigration minister in a bid to secure more funding to meet the costs of caring for unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC).

As County Hall begins planning its budget for next year, it has earmarked an overspend of more than £11m, with some £4.5m of that coming through pressures of supporting UASC, even after they’ve left care.

Finance bosses told a cabinet meeting the money the council receives for so-called ‘care leavers’ is “wholly insufficient” for the costs of supporting them, claiming the funding “drops through the floor” as soon as they turn 18.

Nevertheless, chiefs remain confident of putting together a balanced budget before it is officially rubber-stamped in February, especially if a deal could be agreed with Brandon Lewis, who KCC representatives are in talks with today.

Leader Paul Carter said: “The overspend on asylum costs is a significant proportion of the current projected overspend.

“If we can get a sensible agreement with the Home Office on those costs that are not currently met by the grant, we’re in a much better financial position, and we’ll do everything we can to make that happen.”

KCC is currently consulting with the public on how to shape its budget, with finance chief John Simmonds admitting a four per cent council tax hike is once again likely to be agreed in the new year.

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