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Syrian Refugee Resettlement

Volume 605: debated on Monday 8 February 2016

13. What assessment he has made of the effect of the Syrian refugee resettlement programme on the resources required by local authorities. (903512)

Resettlement costs for year one are funded by the Department for International Development through the official development assistance budget. At the spending review, we announced a further £129 million towards local authority costs in years two to five. This amount was calculated after consulting the Local Government Association and local authorities with experience in this field on the likely costs that they would incur in being part of our Syrian refugee resettlement programme.

I am working hard with my council leader, Bill Hartnett, to provide refuge for two Syrian families in Redditch. Does my hon. Friend agree with me that that is the right thing to do, and will he reassure local people that it will not be paid for by local council tax, as there is some concern in my town about that?

I thank my hon. Friend and the leader of Redditch Borough Council for the part they have played in the joint bid with Worcestershire County Council. As they are aware, we work closely with local authorities to ensure that capacity is identified as suitable for that area, and I again confirm to my hon. Friend that the funding available through the spending review will go a long way towards funding the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

I commend the Minister on being the first Home Office Minister in living memory to set a target for resettlement and meet that target. However, there are still another 19,000 Syrian refugees to be resettled before the next election, and the number of other asylum seekers has risen from 9,000 to 17,000. Where are we going to find that accommodation?

Mr Speaker, excuse me, but to be complimented by the Chairman of the Select Committee on Home Affairs puts one off one’s stride at the Dispatch Box. I remind the right hon. Member for Leicester East (Keith Vaz) that the refugee scheme for which I am responsible very much requires the good nature of local authorities. That, together with the asylum programme, is important to us, and I am pleased to say that the demand for places from refugees equals the supply.

I understand the Minister. It is humbling indeed to be praised by someone of the exalted status of the right hon. Member for Leicester East (Keith Vaz).