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Settling of Refugees

Volume 600: debated on Monday 12 October 2015

13. What discussions she has had with local authorities on funding and other practical arrangements for the settling of refugees. (901493)

14. What discussions she has had with local authorities on funding and other practical arrangements for the settling of refugees. (901494)

The UK has established networks to accommodate and support resettled people. We know that an increase in numbers will require an expansion of current networks, so we are currently working with a wide range of partners including local authorities to ensure that people are integrated with sensitivity in local communities. In particular, we are working with local government operations to see how the funding for that will operate.

I thank the Minister for his response. The refugees who will be granted residence in Britain under the new scheme will be vulnerable victims of torture and sexual abuse and those with acute physical and mental medical needs. Contrary to what the Minister said in response to my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham East and Saddleworth (Debbie Abrahams), my local authority in north-east Lincolnshire is unclear about the extent of the extra support that will be provided to help adequately meet the needs of the most complex cases. Will the Minister confirm that, in addition to the funding of basic needs such as clothing and housing, consideration has been given to the funding of other services such as counselling, translation services and training?

I can happily confirm that that is the case. I pay tribute to Councillor Dave Green, the leader of Bradford council, for being one of the leaders in this area. I saw for myself how the things that the hon. Lady mentioned take place in Bradford, and those things will be greatly expanded.

What is the Minister doing to extend the funding that local authorities are given to support refugees from one year to three years? The Minister will be aware that Hull city council has offered to support Syrian refugees and it was very keen to do so, but what are the Government doing to help us fund that work?

The hon. Gentleman will know that I have answered that question before. I have written to the chief executives of all the local councils explaining that we will help with funding for years two to five.

May I touch on a different aspect of housing and migration? When sanctions were introduced for landlords renting to those disqualified by immigration status, it was agreed that there would be a pilot in the west midlands and that that pilot would be evaluated before its roll-out. An evaluation by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants has shown widespread discrimination—up to 42%—against lawful migrants, those without British passports and those who appear to be foreign. In the light of those results, will the Secretary of State assure the House that the results of the Home Office evaluation will be published before the Second Reading tomorrow and that if similar patterns of discrimination are shown the roll-out will be abandoned?

I welcome the hon. and learned Gentleman to his role and look forward to our discussions in the future. I can confirm that the Government will publish the results of the consultation before the Committee stage of the Bill.