Cuts Watch #197: £50m Migration Impacts Fund
The Government has scrapped the £50m Migration Impacts Fund, which was intended to support public services in areas experiencing high levels of migration.The fund, which was paid for by £50 levy on the visas of non-EU migrants, was introduced to provide local authorities with extra help to deal with pressures on housing, schools and hospitals. Regeneration and Renewal report that funding went to small-scale projects such as multilingual police community support officers and citizens advice bureaux.
Ending the ineffective migration impacts fund will save £16.25m this year…In the light of the overall fiscal position the government concluded that it was not a priority funding stream
The basis on which the fund has been assessed as ineffective is unclear. In Yorkshire the decision to cut the fund has been criticised. Chief executive of the Northern Refugee Centre, Jim Steinke, told the Yorkshire Post that:
We’re very angry at something which was so obviously working well and was self-funding from the levy on migrants’ visas has been cut in such an ill-thought-through way by DCLG. The impact will mean that we have to immediately close down the regional advice service that we were still in the process of setting up.”
Other examples that The Yorkshire Post provides of the schemes’ succss include a Bradford scheme that has help reduce rough sleeping among homeless migrants, funding for specialist family workers to support children failing to attend school in Sheffield and funding for West Yorkshire Police to enlist students as translators rather than having to pay fees for experts to travel from outside the area.