1 in 3 child asylum seekers cared for by London boroughs

London boroughs are looking after a third of unaccompanied children in England seeking asylum, according to Government figures.

There are currently 1,440 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in the capital - a two per cent increase on last year and up five per cent since 2012.

Across England as a whole, 4,210 lone children have been taken in - and more are expected to arrive in the coming months.  

Cllr Peter John, executive member at London Councils, the body that represented the capital's 32 boroughs and the City of London, said councils need support to ensure they can meet the higher cost of living in London and deal with pressure on housing.

"London boroughs have a long and proud history of helping refugees and asylum seekers, and last year resettled nearly half of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children arriving in England," he said.

"These new figures show this work is continuing, with a third of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children across England being looked after in London. 

"Boroughs are making a huge contribution and will strive to continue to do so. But in order to do this they must be given adequate resources to address the higher cost of living in the capital and existing pressures on housing."

In July, the Government launched a voluntary scheme for councils designed to more evenly distribute responsibility for looking after children seeking asylum.

Under the National Transfer Scheme, a child arriving in one local authority area already under strain could be transferred to another council with available capacity. To support the initiative, the Government will increase funding for local authorities to look after unaccompanied asylum-seeking children from £34,675 per child per year to £41,610.

The scheme, which was launched by the Home Office and the Department for Education, has been developed in consultation with the LGA, the Association of Directors of Children's Services and local authorities.