The government announcement on the 7th September 2015 to resettle 20,000 Syrians in the UK over the next 5 years is welcome although many would agree that this is still too little and not soon enough. These refugees will be taken from the camps in the countries neighbouring Syria using the established UNHCR process for identifying and resettling refugees. The Home Office and Department for Communities and Local Government will be working with local authorities and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales to put in place the arrangements to house and support the refugees. The cost of supporting the refugees in their first year in Britain will be funded from foreign aid spending.
Here are some useful links to information for those of you working with your councils to engage them to take more Syrian refugees.
UK Government Information – providing the latest government announcements and plans on the national Syrian Refugee Resettlement effort
Local Government Association – providing information on national coordination and relevant support links across the UK. A one-stop resource for councillors and council officers to answer any questions you might have about taking in refugees. This includes regional contacts, where to direct residents offering housing and our media statements, amongst other resources.
The Commons Public Accounts Committee report on Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement programme (13 January 2017) noted that “some local authorities are confused about what exactly it is they are expected to provide to refugees and have also expressed concerns about what programme funds will cover and what they will need to pay for out of their other budgets.” Here is the full report.