The pledges have been made by councils under the Home Office’s Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS). The only available data indicates that just 20 unaccompanied minors have been allowed into the UK under a scheme begun more than three years ago to resettle 3,000 vulnerable refugee children from conflict zones in the Middle East and north Africa.
The claims of Home Office resistance to the councils’ offers comes after Johnson told parliament on Thursday he was reducing legal protections for refugee children in his new Brexit bill. The legislation jettisons a commitment in EU regulations that secures safeguards for asylum-seeking minors in Europe who want to reunite with family in the UK. Charities said they had detected a hardening of the Home Office approach to child refugees even before the bill was unveiled. Campaigners say the issue partly explains why the numbers of vulnerable minors brought to the UK are so low despite so many council places being available.