Councillors call for better treatment of child refugees in Calais

During a visit to the Calais refugee camp, councillors have said that ministers and party leaders need to improve their treatment of child refugees.

Data has shown that over 100 unaccompanied children are believed to be residing in the camp, despite being eligible for asylum in the UK.

Councillors blamed a lack of national leadership for one of the reasons behind councils failing to ‘set up’ appropriate care for lone children.

Councillors also argued that there had been issues in the camp where authorities were unable to identify the children.

Currently, councils are responsible for the costs of caring for unaccompanied children - including schooling, foster care, university fees and housing - and receive funding at a fixed rate from central government.

Following his visit to the camp, David Simmonds from the Local Government Association, commented: “It feels like goodwill has been missing from this process for a while... I imagine France, and the mayor in particular, are a bit fed-up being criticised by people in other countries and what local government is good at is finding practical solutions, so that's what we're going to do.”

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: "Local authorities, must be willing to offer support to all unaccompanied children in need regardless of how they arrive in the UK.

"We must avoid creating distinctions between unaccompanied children within Europe and the children who have made it to the UK on their own - especially when so many have undergone similar experiences."