‘We don’t have the housing’ UK councils warn not enough room for incoming Afghan refugees

UK councils 'havent got housing stock' for refugees says Carr

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Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the UK will resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees over the course of the next few years with over 5,000 set to be resettled in the first year alone. But councils across the UK who have already begun taking on refugees warn they do not have enough resources to address the problem despite donations and a cash injection from the Home Office. One councillor in Milton Keynes told Channel 4 news there simply was not enough “housing stock” as she feared many refugees would be left in transition in hotels and other temporary accommodation for a long time.

Councils across the country have already begun taking in refugees but some have refused as they state they do not have the resources to house them. 

Larger authorities like Manchester will see more refugees sent to be resettled but Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has called for a “fairer” system that sees all authorities take on some refugees. 

Manchester Evening News reports over 1,000 refugees will be resettled in the Greater Manchester area. 

Speaking to Channel 4, Milton Keynes Liberal Democrat Councillor Jane Carr blasted the Home Office and demanded more was given to councils to help with the resettling. 

She said: “For those that are coming in at the moment they’re all in transition so it’s finding them homes. 

“And that could be anywhere in the country not necessarily here in Milton Keynes.

“But if we are going to be rehousing families here we need the Home Office to be able to find the funding in order to obtain those rooms.

“Because we don’t have housing stock sitting here doing nothing.”

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Labour MP Clive Betts has also called for the Government to increase their funding after his local Yorkshire authority promised to take on a good number of refugees. 

The Government is currently pledging £5million to resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees which only equates to a few hundred per person.

Under the Syrian refugee resettlement scheme, which saw more than 10,000 re-housed, councils were provided with £129million.

Mr Betts told Yorkshire Live: “Northern councils have had the worst of the cuts over the last 10 years and are really struggling financially, so that’s why it’s really important that the government steps up and makes a commitment to cover the costs.”

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched Operation Warm Welcome which will be led by Priti Patel to ensure incoming Afghan refugees are given the right humanitarian care upon their arrival to the UK.

The PM said: “Though we would not have wished to leave in this way, we have to recognise that we came in with the US in defence and support of the US.

“And though we now leave with the US, we will remain represented in the region, we’re doubling our humanitarian assistance, development assistance this year to £286m…

“I am determined we welcome them with open arms and put in place the support they need to rebuild their lives.

“For those who have left their homes with no more than a small bag of belongings coming to the UK will have been a daunting experience, but also one of hope.”

There will be a new department set up to coordinate housing, health and education needs and to deal with the trauma escapees might have suffered.

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