From the LGA Chairman
Refugee Situation – Update 4
19 September 2015
Following my emails last week, I wanted to update you further on our ongoing conversations with Government about the refugee situation.
You may have heard the Home Secretary’s statement to the Commons today. The Government recognises the long-term nature of resettling Syrian refugees in communities but, we’re continuing to press them on a firm commitment that funding to councils needs to reflect this. This is important to ensure vulnerable children, families and adults have access to the public services they will need and are not seen as a burden by the communities who will be welcoming them. I was pleased to hear the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark MP, in his evidence to the Communities and Local Government Committee, recognise that quantifying funding after the first year of settlement is an important area where local authorities can contribute its expertise.
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister announced the new Minister for Syrian refugees – Richard Harrington MP. The Minister has already been in touch with the LGA, we will be meeting with him tomorrow and will update you on discussions.
We are continuing to coordinate offers from councils via the Regional Strategic Migration Partnerships (RSMP) so, I would ask that any offers of support are communicated via your RSMP contact listed on our resource. At this point, it would be useful to get a sense of numbers of adults, children or families you may be able to take given your local circumstances. I know that many of you are already working together to provide these numbers. Those in two tier areas should work closely on agreeing any offers of support. We will, of course, treat this information as confidential and giving a sense of numbers does not commit you to this figure, particularly in advance of information on funding and the cohort.
We are aware that there is still a lot of detail to be worked through. RSMP contacts can also log any queries you may have about how the scheme may be run so that we can pass these back to Government. We are continuing to regularly update our refugees resource, so do keep an eye on the web page for further information.
Finally, the Home Office has now clarified that, at this point, there is no expectation that the Syrian scheme will require members of the public to offer rooms in their houses. In the meantime, residents making other offers of help can be directed to the Government’s response website or the Red Cross for further information.
Cllr Gary Porter
Chairman, Local Government Association