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Monday, 03 August 2015

Number of unaccompanied children seeking asylum rises almost 50%

Written by The Press Association

The number of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Britain has risen by almost 50%, official data shows.

There were a total of 1,986 asylum applications from migrants aged under 18 in the year ending in March.

This was an increase of 46% compared with the previous year's tally of 1,356, and the claims represented 8% of all asylum applications over the period.

The statistics were published along with the Government's most recent immigration figures in May.

Scrutiny of the issue of children and teenagers arriving in the UK has intensified in recent days as the Government struggles to get to grips with the Calais crisis.

It emerged last week that the number of young migrants in Kent County Council's care has risen sharply in the last three months, leaving it with a £5.5 million funding gap in care costs.

The local authority was supporting around 220 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children under the age of 18 in March last year, which rose to 368 in March this year. The figure stood at 629 on Friday.

County council leader Paul Carter said last week that the "massive logistical exercise" of supporting those aged under 18 who make it to the UK is putting an "enormous strain" on children's social services.

It was also disclosed today that some teenage migrants who have fled across the Channel to Britain are being driven by private taxi to temporary accommodation outside of Kent at a cost of up to £150.

A Press Association analysis of data on applications from unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) also found that:

  • The rise of 46% in the year to March 2015 was the biggest like-for-like increase for at least eight years.
  • In the first three months of this year, 35 UASC applications came from children aged under 14.
  • A total of 70 claims were made by girls - the highest quarterly figure since the end of 2010.

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