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  1. ITV Report

Home Office rejected 'expert help' to assess refugee ages

Teenagers arrive to the UK from Calais. Credit: PA

The Home Office rejected an offer of help to establish the age of refugees coming into the UK from Calais, it has been claimed.

Specialist social workers were offered in August to help prepare for the arrival of refugees from the French 'Jungle' camp.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said officials did not take up the offer, and only started asking for help on Friday as concerns were raised about the age of refugees entering the country.

The Sunday Telegraph said councils offered to send social workers to Calais to carry out age checks but were ignored.

David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA's asylum, refugee and migration taskforce told the newspaper: "We made the offer in August and the Home Office didn't take it up at the time. They only started asking for social workers with age assessment experience on Friday."

He added: "The offer was not taken up quickly enough. I understand that on Friday the Home Office started asking Kent for social workers with experience in age assessment.

"But we offered our help three months ago. I am aware they were trying to talk to people on Friday to get help after all."

A source at the Home Office insisted that the support was not needed when it was offered.

Dozens of young migrants have arrived in the UK in the last week, including the first group of unaccompanied children without links to Britain under the Dubs amendment.

Previously all of the children arriving in Britain were required to have family resident in the UK.