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Refugees: UK Resettlement Scheme

Volume 704: debated on Monday 22 November 2021

We have been welcoming refugees through the UK resettlement scheme since its launch in March 2021. That commitment will ensure that we continue to offer safe and legal routes to the UK for vulnerable refugees in need of protection, with our focus firmly on helping people from regions of conflict and instability directly.

I am proud that Liberal Democrat-run Richmond Council, and many of my constituents, stated early during the Afghan crisis that refugees are welcome in our borough, and that they would work hard to support and rehouse those evacuated. Over the past few weeks some £6,500 has been spent on family homes for evacuees from Afghanistan, but as yet no families have been resettled in those homes. Not only is that a waste of taxpayers’ money, but presumably there are many families in unsuitable hotel accommodation. What is the Minister doing to ensure that families who have been evacuated will be resettled quickly where accommodation is available?

The comments by Richmond Council certainly contrasted with the approach that the Lib-Dem leader of Torbay Council took when first asked to take part in the Afghan resettlement scheme, but it made a welcome U-turn and we will play our part. Work is being done across the Government to support those who arrived as part of the emergency evacuation back in August, and those who will arrive under the resettlement scheme, to ensure they can be housed quickly.