The Controlling Migration Fund (CMF) was launched last November and allows local authorities in England to bid for funding totalling £100million over four years from 2016/17 to 2019/20.
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.”
The target group is seemingly Eastern European migrants (refugees are not classed as ‘migrants’)!
Harrow council is hopeful that this funding “will help families integrate and increase their ability to contribute economically (how?)”, for example, by employing a teacher to provide English lessons (one teacher for the whole migrant population in Harrow?).
The use of this funding has to be more imaginative.
Where councils recognise that the established resident community within their area has been in some way affected by recent migration, either legitimate or illegal, they are invited to put forward a bid to the fund. The proposal should set out the issue, with evidence, and the action that the council wishes to take. Examples of eligible activities include building community cohesion and encouraging integration, tackling the increase in rough sleeping by non-UK nationals or tackling rogue landlords.
Commenting on the marginal funding, Harrow Council for Justice chairman Jaiya Shah who had first-hand experience of the use and misuse of the Section 11 funding in Harrow in 1980s, said “seen this before – the premise and use of the funding reminds what happened 35 years back”.
Then Harrow received substantial amount of Section 11 money which was more or less used to balance the books or to provide mainstream services like education and housing without consulting the beneficiaries of the Section 11 funding or ascertaining their specific needs.
To avoid past bitterness, perhaps the Harrow council could learn from its 1980s archives regarding section 11 community consultations.
Also, perhaps the council would like to use some of this specific money to address much increased ad hoc flytipping in the borough.
Section 11 funding
A problematic view of immigrants was legalised by the Local Government Act of 1966, stating a negative definition “immigration is the great social problem of this Century and of the next” – p1308 of Hansard: 1966/67: Volume 29.
In response, Section 11 of the Local Government Act of 1966 provided funding to the authorities to ‘help meet the special needs of a significant number of people of commonwealth origin with language or customs which differ from the rest of the community’. This included funding to support the education of bilingual learners.