Despite the original expectation that 3,000 child refugees who had travelled from Syria to Europe would be brought to the UK under the ‘Dubs Scheme’, the government announced earlier this year that the scheme would close after just 350 unaccompanied migrant children had been resettled.
Two months later and an extra 130 places have now been found due to “an administrative error” which overlooked a large pledge by one local government region. The region has not been named.
A Guardian article reports the reaction of Lord Dubs who was shocked that ministers had admitted the mistake “after months of dragging their heels all along”.
“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.”
While the ‘Jungle’ camp at Calais was closed in October 2016 and child refugees were moved to specialist reception centres across France, many remained on the north coast of France. A recent fire at the Dunkirk camp made many refugees including children homeless. Vulnerable children continue to attempt to make the dangerous crossing over the English Channel from Calais.
Rabbi Janet Darley from Safe Passage welcomed the announcement but called for the scheme to be reopened. The charity helps unaccompanied child refugees and vulnerable adults in Europe find safe, legal routes to the UK.
“It is very welcome news that more children will be helped by Alf Dubs’ scheme and testament to the hard work of local communities across the country who have worked with councils to find extra places for some of the most vulnerable child refugees in Europe.
“However, if 130 places can be missed due to an administrative error, and many more councils have since come forward and pledged extra spaces, this clearly demonstrates the need to re-consult with councils on capacity and re-open the ‘Dubs scheme’ so more children can in future benefit.”