More lone child refugees to be brought to UK under Dubs scheme after 'administrative error'
A further 130 unaccompanied refugee children who have reached Europe from the Middle East will be brought to the UK under the Dubs scheme – bringing the total to 480.
Ministers said due to an “administrative error” the number of places available for lone kids to be housed by local authorities had been miscalculated.
Campaigners were left outraged in February after the Government said just 350 children would be allowed into the UK under the scheme it would be closed.
Government sources suggested last year that as many as 3,000 of the stricken youngsters could be accepted by Britain.
But today Home Office minister Robert Goodwill said a further 130 places would be offered after a blunder in the assessment of places to house them.
“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,” he said in a statement.
“I am today announcing that, in accordance with section 67 of the Immigration Act, the Government is increasing the specified number from 350 to 480.
“As outlined in my original statement, the specified number includes over 200 children already transferred from France as part of the Calais camp clearance.”
Ministers have stressed that thousands of other child refugees were resettled in Britain last year under programmes bringing vulnerable people directly from the region.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “This alleged oversight by this Conservative government has meant 130 children who could have been placed here months ago are still languishing in camps in Europe.
“I hope these children are identified and brought to the UK as soon as humanely possible – it is our moral duty and responsibility.”
He added: “Whilst I welcome the fact the Government will now take in some more, this is simply not enough.
“Britain has been a beacon of hope and a place of sanctuary throughout our history, but this Conservative Brexit Government seems committed to turning its back on the world.”
David Cameron announced last May that the Government was accepting an amendment to the Immigration Act by former Labour MP Lord Dubs calling for the UK to take in unaccompanied youngsters left homeless by the Syrian civil war.
Last month MPs voted against plans to force councils in England to identify whether they have space to settle more unaccompanied refugees.
Lord Dubs could not be reached for comment.