Kent County Council has announced today that it it, once again, is seeking to forgo its statutory Duty of Care legal duty for vulnerable children who happen to be unaccompanied asylum seekers or refugees. This move is the latest chapter in attempts by Kent County Council to get central government to accept a duty of care over those who land on our shores. It is a damning indictment that after eleven years of the Conservatives being in control of both Kent County Council and central government, no resolution has been reached.
In a joint statement by the new Kent Labour Group, our councillors noted that “whilst we hear a lot at Kent from the Administration and Senior Officers about the need for KCC to support only the vulnerable rather than universal provision. This rhetoric rings hollow when some of the most vulnerable are used in a political game by two Conservative Administrations.”
Dr Lauren Sullivan, Leader of the Kent Labour Group decried the decision as yet more evidence of an “ongoing failure”, and evidence that “politics is more of a priority than providing a duty of care in Kent”.
Whilst Labour agrees that Government needs to find a long-term solution with Kent County Council in relation to those vulnerable children and young people, including fully funding asylum seeker services so that other services do not suffer, we believe these young people deserve certainty first and foremost.
Newly elected councillor for Canterbury City North, Alister Brady said, “once again we bear witness to the Conservatives inability to support and protect Children at County and National level. Actions speak louder than words and we see their actions falling far short of acceptable. A caring society is judge on how we treat children of all races, Kent County Council must do better, KCC must start to care!”