A NEW scheme to provide children fleeing their homeland with somewhere safe to stay is to be piloted in Bolton.

Bolton Council has announced a new one-year pilot accommodation project to provide services for care leavers and unaccompanied children "asylum seeking" children to meet "increasing demand".

Figures released by the department for education show that in 2018, Bolton had nine unaccompanied asylum seekers one up from 2017 ­— figures in previous years were below five.

But town hall chiefs are keeping the contract, to allow the project to proceed, under wraps, saying it is confidential.

A council report stated: "Initial discussions had been undertaken with the provider who were willing to offer a 12-month pilot project aimed at

redesigning the service.

"This project would facilitate the co-design and development of a new service which would help to meet the local authority's increasing demand for accommodation and supported living."

The confidential report on the proposals outlines the "budget implications of the proposals funding arrangements, savings and expected outcomes" ­— but those details are not being made public.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: "Providing vital support to the most vulnerable young people in our community is a key priority for this council.

“The new service will aim to provide the most appropriate level of help to those that need it most."

He added: “We are committed to giving young people in Bolton the best possible start in life."

In May this year a "significant increase in funding" for local authorities looking after unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC), was announced by the Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes.

The change means that local authorities will be paid the same amount for every UASC that they look after, regardless of the child’s age or when they entered the UK. Local authorities will receive £114 for each child every day that they are in their care which equates to over £41,600 per year per child.

Based on the number of UASC looked after by local authorities, the increase in funding will total over £30 million per year.

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said: "This Government is fully committed to helping the most vulnerable children affected by the migration crisis and that is why we have provided protection to over 34,600 children since 2010.

"I recognise the vital role local authorities play in this effort and that is why I have increased the funding available for looking after unaccompanied asylum seeking children by over £30 million.

"This funding will help make sure the Government and local authorities across the UK can continue to work together to support vulnerable children."

The £114 per night for every UASC they support which is a 61 per cent increase on the lowest rate that is currently paid.

Children’s social care is funded through the local government finance settlement and the Home Office contribution is in addition to this funding.

Alongside the increase in funding and simplification of the process, the Home Office is working to reduce the time it takes to conclude UASC asylum cases.

Under current arrangements local authorities are awarded a different amount of money depending on the age of the child and when they arrived in the UK.