Archbishop 'saddened and shocked' only 350 child refugees to be admitted to UK

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he is "saddened and shocked" at the Government's decision to only accept 350 child refugees under the Dubs amendment.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said he had believed ministers were "committed to welcoming up to 3,000 children under this scheme" and it is "regrettable" such a small proportion have been given sanctuary in Britain.

His intervention piles further pressure on the Government, which has been heavily criticised by Lords and MPs in Parliament after it quietly announced the cap of lone child refugees being brought to Britain.

The decision was made over fears it is encouraging people traffickers, the Home Secretary has said.

Mr Welby said: "I was saddened and shocked to read in the ministerial statement released yesterday that only 350 children will be received under the regulations in the Dubs amendment.

"Our country has a great history of welcoming those in need, particularly the most vulnerable, such as unaccompanied children. "

He said refugees "are treasured human beings" who "deserve safety, freedom and the opportunity to flourish", and he hopes the Government will reconsider the decision.

The Dubs amendment allows unaccompanied children in Europe to be offered safe refuge in the UK.

Ministers introduced the scheme to give a home to lone children stranded on the continent last year after being threatened with a rebellion in the House of Lords.

Named after the Labour peer Lord Dubs, who fled the Nazis and was brought to Britain under the Kindertransport scheme, campaigners had called for 3,000 children to be settled in the UK under the programme.

Amber Rudd defended the move to cap the numbers at a 10th of this, saying British and French authorities feared it was encouraging young children to make the perilous journey across Europe.