Communities Secretary Sajid Javid announces grants totalling £15 million to local councils to help ease the pressures on local services.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid this week announced grants totalling £15 million to local councils to help ease the pressures on local services such as housing, schooling and health services resulting from recent migration.
These grants are the first allocations from the Controlling Migration Fund (CMF).
Launched in November 2016, the fund allows local authorities in England to bid for funding totalling £100 million over 4 years from 2016 to 2017, to 2019 to 2020. This funding will supplement local authorities’ budgets of £200 billion across the 4 year period up to 2020.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said "Migration brings great benefits to this country but, in some places, significant population changes in a short space of time have put pressures on public services.
"This new funding will help councils rise to the challenge of reducing the impact of migration on local communities in a variety of ways – whether that’s tackling the small minority of rogue landlords who damage neighbourhoods with overcrowded properties, providing English language classes to ensure effective integration rather than reliance on translation services, or boosting the number of teaching assistants in schools to ensure all children get excellent teaching."
The government recognises that local authorities understand their local communities best and can identify specific pressures on services that can result from high or concentrated migration. Councils receiving these grants have developed specific plans to ease local pressures arising from migration and at the same time deliver overall benefits to their wider communities.
Lord Bourne, Minister for Faith said "Local councils have clearly drawn on their knowledge of their areas to submit strong proposals. This funding will help provide practical solutions for local communities so that councils can improve services for everyone. We will keep a keen eye on progress and make sure other councils can learn from their experiences to see what works best."
The projects announced today are as diverse as the communities they will help. Multiple local authorities have plans to deliver additional English language learning for school children who use English as a second language.
This targeted extra support will mean teachers and teaching assistants can concentrate on the needs of all students equally to raise overall academic attainment levels.
Many authorities also plan to launch or expand English language classes for adults including teaching or instruction on British culture and traditions as well as providing practical advice on how local services work.
The Leader of Harrow Council, Sachin Shah said "We’re going to fund a teacher to provide English lessons, which will help families integrate and increase their ability to contribute economically. That not only reduces their reliance on the council, but allows us to tap into the skills we need in the borough."
Tackling the small number of rogue landlords is a priority for local authorities. Councils have highlighted areas where landlords take advantage of migrants, housing them in unsafe properties which degrades neighbourhoods.
Authorities will seek to clamp down on these rogue landlords to improve the overall quality of local housing, to improve the local environment and to reduce the impact of illegal migration, often in partnership with Immigration Enforcement.
Manchester City council has received £280,000 for a project to target rogue landlords throughout the city, through joint working of a number of services.
Councillor Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of Manchester City council said "We welcome this funding as it will allow us to continue our targeted approach to rogue landlords operating in the private rented sector – in particular flats located above shops – and help improve safety, living conditions, and in turn the wider community."
A number of local councils have also been awarded funding to carry out research into the impact of migration in their area.
Recognising that current and future migration is likely to have impacts on their provision of services, the data gathered will enable them to tailor future service provision for the benefit of all local residents.
The London Borough of Hounslow, for example, has received funding to support a project to identify local services coming under pressures from migration. These services will then in turn receive funding to alleviate pressure for the benefit of the entire local community.
Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow council said "This innovative project will delve deeper into data on local migration pressures; to understand the impact and challenges, and empower our communities to create innovative solutions to ensure Hounslow remains a cohesive and welcoming borough."