The UK government is facing a cross-party backlash after it emerged that ministers quietly plan to close down a scheme to take unaccompanied child refugees from mainland Europe.

Britain promised to take the under-18s after Labour's Lord Alf Dubs, who came to the UK on the Kindertransport programme for Jewish children during the Second World War, led a campaign to take 3,000 unaccompanied children.

The government never committed to a figure on the number of lone child refugees, but MPs have accused ministers of a "betrayal" after immigration minister Robert Goodwill revealed just 350 unaccompanied children would be transported to the UK as part of the route.

"The UK can be proud of its record of helping refugee children and I can today announce, in accordance with section 67 of the Immigration Act, that the government will transfer the specified number of 350 children pursuant to that section, who reasonably meet the intention and spirit behind the provision," the MP said, in a written statement.

"This number includes over 200 children already transferred under section 67 from France. It does not include children transferred to UK where they have close family here.

"We will announce, in due course, the basis on which further children will be transferred from Europe to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act to the specified number."

Goodwill stressed that the government would continue to meet its obligations under the Dublin Regulation and accept processing asylum claims where the UK is determined to be the responsible member state.

Labour's Yvette Copper, the chair of the influential Home Affairs Select Committee, said the government was "completely wrong" to close the scheme down.

"Dubs was never time-limited and the government said they would abide by both the word and the spirit of the amendment," she said.

"No one ever suggested we would only help children for a few months then turn our backs especially when the global refugee crisis shows no sign of abating. Whatever happened to the Government's commitment to ending modern slavery and trafficking?

Cooper added: "I am also very concerned that the fast track process for children with family members here is being stopped – that is unacceptable and goes against our international obligations as well as keeping desperate families apart."

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron also attacked the government over the announcement. "Today is a betrayal of these vulnerable children and a betrayal of British values," he said.

"We know local communities and authorities up and down the country want to do more to help and the government should listen to the people by offering the financial support and resources necessary to enable this rather than acting as a block."