Medway Labour and Cooperative Group today expressed shock and anger at the actions of Medway Council leader, Alan Jarrett, who has taken legal action to refuse support for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children. The National Transfer Scheme, designed to ensure that all local authorities take a fair share of vulnerable young refugees, was made compulsory by the government in the autumn. However, Medway’s Conservative leader has issued a legal challenge to the government with the aim of preventing Medway from hosting these children.
Cllr Clive Johnson, Medway Labour and Cooperative Group Shadow Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said:
“It is shocking enough that Medway’s Conservatives’ poor leadership over many years has resulted in our children’s services being rated Inadequate by Ofsted.
“But for them now to use their poor performance as a way of avoiding their responsibilities to vulnerable young people thousands of miles from home is contemptible.
“They are also shirking their duty to support other local authorities who are equally stretched after a decade of austerity.”
Cllr Vince Maple, Leader of Medway Labour and Cooperative Group said:
“Medway’s Conservatives have a poor record on support for young and vulnerable refugees and wider refugee groups over the past few years.
“We welcome the support that they, and the Medway community, have shown recently for Ukrainian refugees. However, the administration must recognise its responsibilities and revisit their decision to challenge the National Transfer Scheme.
“Instead, I’d urge the Conservative Cabinet to lobby their government for the right level of funding to make sure Medway and all councils can carry out their moral responsibilities effectively.”