For years, Croydon Council has argued that the Home Office has not adequately refunded it for caring for several hundred unaccompanied asylum seeking children. As a result, Croydon Council Taxpayers have been left to pick up the tab.
When I stood for election, I promised to try to do something to correct this injustice. I raised the issue with the Prime Minister at Prime Minister’s Questions several months ago and since then we have been having an ongoing dialogue with the Home Office and the UK Border Agency.
Today, I led a delegation from Croydon Council, including Council Leader Mike Fisher, to see Damian Green, the Minister for Immigration. I am delighted to say that the Minister agreed to provide additional funding of £1.2 million for 2009/10, an estimated £750,000 for the current financial year and extra funding in future years to partially cover the Council’s legal costs. While we haven’t got every penny we would like, today’s settlement represents a fair deal for Croydon Council Taxpayers.
I still believe as a matter of principle that Croydon shouldn’t be the sole place in the country where you can make an in-country asylum claim (it is unfair on the town and on people trying to claim sanctuary) but at least now there won't be an unfair direct cost on Croydon Council Taxpayers.