7th Dec, 2016

Vale MPs back decision to host refugee families

Joshua Godfrey 14th Jan, 2016 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A DECISION by council chiefs from across the county to go ahead with a bid to resettle up to 50 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016 has been backed by both Vale MPs.

Negotiations will begin later this month with the Home Office and West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership to begin the process of housing the refugees.

This follows Government confirmation that the full cost of supporting Syrian refugees will come from the Foreign Aid budget for the first 12 months.

Evesham’s MP Nigel Huddleston has praised the generosity of some Vale residents who have offered up rooms in their homes

“I am glad that Worcestershire is playing its part in helping Syrian refugees,” Mr Huddleston said.

“I have received many emails and letters on this issue and the help the County Council will be providing is on top of significant assistance being provided by many local residents in the form of charitable donations to various Syrian charities.

“The generosity of Worcestershire residents is also shown by people offering up rooms in their own houses.”

The plan was agreed by the leaders of all seven councils in the county, including Wychavon District Council.

Pershore’s MP, Harriett Baldwin, said:”I have been helping our local councils to connect with the Minister responsible for the funding of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Programme.

“The funding for the first year will come from the international aid budget and the vulnerable people will come directly from the camps and will be carefully screened.

“The UK has a proud tradition of providing asylum to that in need and of donating funding to support refugee camps in the region.”

Refugees in the county will be placed in privately rented housing to avoid any impact on Worcestershire’s already strained social housing supply.

In a joint statement Worcestershire Council Leaders said: “We’ve always been clear we were prepared to play our part in housing some of the most vulnerable people affected by the Syrian conflict, but we needed assurances over funding. We’re delighted we now have those assurances and are able to proceed with a formal bid.

“A huge amount of work still needs to be done and complex detail gone through, before we can accept our first families.

“We need to ensure the right infrastructure and support networks are in place to fully support Syrian refugees arriving here and help them settle into the community.

“As a result there’s no date yet for when we will receive our first families but our aim will be to ensure they arrive sooner rather than later.”

A decision on how many more Syrian refugees will be housed in Worcestershire over the next four years up until 2020 will be made once the initial families have arrived and begun to settle in.