£19 million funding for councils to boost integration

Councils across England will receive a share of a further £19 million to help ease pressures on local services resulting from recent migration

Councils across England will receive a share of a further £19 million to help ease pressures on local services resulting from recent migration, Communities Minister Lord Bourne announced today (8 June 2018).

This latest allocation from the Controlling Migration Fund includes more than £16 million for 38 projects. Local authorities have developed plans to ease local pressures on housing, education and health services arising from recent migration providing benefits to the whole community.

The announcement today includes £1.75 million of funding to help new refugees into work and integrate into their new communities after their asylum decision is made. It also includes £1.1 million for 6 councils to support victims of modern slavery to link up with local services when they leave central government-funded support, thereby reducing their risk of becoming homeless, sleeping rough, or being re-trafficked.

Communities Minister Lord Bourne said:

"We’re already seeing how funding from the Controlling Migration Fund can deliver rapid results. These new projects will further support communities in coming together to address local challenges, help recent arrivals settle into their new communities and also provide extra services for the benefit of all.

"We know that refugees face particular challenges in settling into British life, so we are providing additional support to help them find work and improve their English language skills."

This latest allocation brings the total funding to £73.5 million since the Fund’s launch. The fund helps to tackle rogue landlords, increase English language support and boost community integration.

North Lincolnshire council project

In response to local concerns around anti-social behaviour, fly tipping and rogue landlords, the council has set up a new project bringing new arrivals, the local established community and agencies together to tackle these challenges head on.

Councillor Ralph Ogg, cabinet member for Safer, Greener and Cleaner Places at North Lincolnshire council, said:

"The area has a rich diverse culture and we want to ensure all communities have access to key services, support and advice to help them integrate into society.

"The money will be used to help bridge the gap and enable existing and new communities, landlords, tenants, businesses, and partners to work together to establish a more cohesive, stronger and settled community.

"We are working with key partners to do this including the Police, UK Border Agency, waste services, safer neighbourhoods and environmental health and this is very much a joint approach."

Government’s Integration Strategy

In March 2018, the government’s Integrated Communities Strategy green paper set out a long-term plan of action to tackle the root causes of poor integration and steps that need to be taken to build stronger and more united communities across Britain.

The government is now working on local integration plans with 5 Integration Areas across the country that have already shown leadership in tackling the challenges their areas face. These are: Blackburn with Darwen, Bradford, Peterborough, Walsall and Waltham Forest.

A project in Blackburn with Darwen, funded in 2017, is having real success in supporting refugee families into permanent housing, freeing up temporary accommodation in the area. A newly appointed coordinating officer is also supporting the expansion of English language classes run by volunteers for the benefit of new arrivals.

Sayyed Osman, Director of Adult Services and Prevention at Blackburn with Darwen council, said:

"Funding for project work and testing new ideas is vital to make a real difference to the communities we serve.

"The English classes are well attended and appreciated. Groups go to matches at Blackburn Rovers Football Club as part of their practical sessions which is particularly powerful in terms of developing shared experiences.

"Temporary accommodation helps us cope with demand; the service is sympathetic to the practical needs of families."

Refugees are typically keen to improve their English and find work. A joint project between the Home Office and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will pilot a number of Local Authority Asylum Support Liaison Officers to work with those granted refugee status and provide them with information and support to help transition from Government-provided accommodation to mainstream society.

These 35 officers will work in 19 local authorities will also help facilitate those not granted refugee status to voluntarily return to their country of origin.

Further information

The Controlling Migration Fund is designed to support local areas facing pressures linked to recent immigration.

• A summary of funding for projects announced today, which will run over 2018 to 2020, can be found here:

Summary of funding for CMF projects

• The Fund delivers on many of the priorities set out in the Integrated Communities Strategy published on 14 March 2018.

The Fund is available over the 4 years from 2016 to 2017 and 2019 to 2020. It will supplement local authorities’ budgets of £200 billion across the 4 year period up to 2020.

It is available in 2 parts:

• ‘local service impact’ – totalling £100 million, led by the MHCLG, to help local authorities in England and their communities experiencing high and unexpected volumes of immigration to ease pressures on local services

• enforcement – led by Home Office Immigration Enforcement, worth £40 million to direct enforcement action against illegal migrants in order to reduce pressures on local services; Immigration Enforcement is currently on track to meet their commitments under the Fund

In total since its launch the Fund has committed £73.5 million.

Bids worth £59.5 million have been approved made up of:

• 126 bids worth £50.6 million covering themes such as rogue landlords, cohesion, English language and rough sleeping
• 32 bids worth £8.9 million for specific proposals aimed at unaccompanied asylum seeking children

The Controlling Migration Fund has also funded centrally driven pilots:

• 6 bids worth £1.1 million for Modern Slavery victim pathway pilots
• 10 bids worth £1.7 million to fund Local Authority Asylum Support workers in 19 local authorities (The Controlling Migration Fund is funding 10 bids, including one bid for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority which itself covers 10 local authority areas.)

£2.2 million from the Fund was also allocated to local authorities pressures as a result of care for unaccompanied asylum seeking children in March 2017.

£9 million from the Fund (and an additional £12.3 million from other budgets within MHCLG) was distributed by formula to build 135 authorities’ ability to care for unaccompanied asylum seeking children and care leavers for whom they have responsibility in January 2018.