Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Lancaster City Council to support Syrian refugees

Lancaster City Council has confirmed it will participate in the Government’s Syrian refugee resettlement programme from 2017.

In its bid to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK, the Government has written to all local authorities confirming it will provide funding to help to resettle Syrian refugees.

At a Cabinet meeting last Tuesday (16th February) city councillors considered the funding package and agreed it will participate in the programme.

The city council will be working closely with other local authorities in Lancashire that are also participating in the scheme.

By working collectively with other local authorities the county as a whole will take 500 refugees over the five years of the programme. It is estimated that this will mean each local authority identifying, on average, two suitable properties a year.

With other local authorities in the county fulfilling the allocation in the first year (from April 2016), the Lancaster district will start accepting Syrian refugees from April 2017.

Coun Karen Leytham, Cabinet member with responsibility for health and housing, said: “The world has been shocked by the continuing conflict in the Middle East and the mass displacement of people - estimated to be the largest since the Second World War - is a humanitarian crisis.

“The council is committed to playing its part and will work closely with other agencies to identify suitable accommodation in the Lancaster district.

“We would like to do more but by joining the scheme in year two we will be able to build on and learn from the experiences of other local authorities that resettle refugees this year. It also allows us to concentrate on assisting the asylum seekers dispersal programme in Lancaster, which we already participate in.

“Crucially the Government will be providing funding for the resettlement programme which is important to ensure that those we welcome to our district, along with the council and our communities, have the support and resources they need until they are either granted asylum or safely returned to their own country.”

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