Britain to accept extra 130 lone refugee children after Home Office corrects 'administrative error'

Jack Maidment
Robert Goodwill, the Immigration Minister  - PA

An extra 130 unaccompanied refugee children will be brought to Britain after the Government admitted it had made an “administrative error” and miscalculated the number of available places.

The Government faced heavy criticism in February when it announced that the UK would accept 350 lone young people from Europe under what is known as the Dubs scheme - significantly fewer than the 3,000 which campaigners had demanded.

However, that figure has now been increased to 480 after the Home Office discovered that a number of offers made by local councils to provide places for refugee children had not been taken into account.

Yvette Cooper, the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, accused the Home Office of a “shameful failure” as she called on Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, to apologise for the mistake.

Yvette Cooper, the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee Credit: Eddie Mulholland for The Telegraph

Announcing the error in a written ministerial statement, Robert Goodwill, the Immigration Minister, said: “The Government has very recently become aware that, due to an administrative error as part of collating the figures, one region pledged 130 places which were not accounted for in setting the specified number.”

Meanwhile, he said that "no eligible child has been refused transfer to the UK as a result of this error”. 

Mr Goodwill also insisted the Government remained fully committed to the implementation of its commitment under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 which was introduced following a campaign spearheaded by the Labour peer Lord Dubs.

Lord Dubs, the Labour peer Credit: Julian Simmonds

Lord Dubs told The Guardian: “It is especially shocking that they have ‘just discovered’ this dreadful mistake after we and the local authorities have been telling them for several months that there were more offers of places.”

Ms Cooper welcomed the fact that more children would be brought to the UK but criticised the Government’s handling of the scheme.

She said: “It beggars belief that these children weren't helped earlier because of a basic admin error.

“This shows a shameful failure by the Home Office to talk properly to local councils who were willing and able to help or to check they had counted the figures up right.”

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