Today [7 March] MPs will vote on whether the government should re-consult with local authorities on their ability to accommodate vulnerable refugee children from Europe, effectively keeping the ‘Dub’s scheme’ open. Public figures including Juliet Stevenson, Toby Jones, Rhys Ifans, Joely Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave, faith leaders from the Jewish and Christian communities, MPs and Lord Dubs will gather at Parliament to appeal to MPs to re-consult with local authorities.
Last month, it was announced that the ‘Dubs’ scheme’ would end at the end of the financial year due to a lack of places identified by councils for the children. However, Citizen’s UK’s Safe Passage project has found that many local authorities have more spaces available and is appealing to the government to re-consult.
Information released at the weekend found that there were at least 368 spaces available for children in the UK, under the national transfer scheme for asylum-seeking children. This include the Home Secretary’s own constituency of Hastings and Rye, where there are 48 spaces available.
Where: Outside entrance to Parliament
What: Banner and photo opportunity
Who: Toby Jones, Juliet Stevenson, Rhys Ifans, Joely Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave with faith leaders (including the Bishop of Croydon), MPs and Lord Dubs.
Bishop Jonathan Clark, who has been working with Citizens UK’s Safe Passage project, said: “Britain has a proud history of welcoming refugees, from the Kindertransport children of the 1930’s to the Syrian families who are being offered protection today. The Dubs scheme is intended to help only the most vulnerable lone children in Europe. Shutting the door on them sends a chilling message. Britain is better than this.”
Juliet Stevenson, Actress and Campaigner, said: “We are here today to remind MPs: without safe and legal routes, children are forced to use unsafe and illegal ones. MPs have the opportunity to do the right thing today and vote to re-consult with local authorities to keep the “Dubs scheme” open. Along with tens of thousands of others, we call on them to do so.”