The British councils offering Afghan refugees a home

Scotland and Wales commit to helping the UK effort

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More than 100 local councils across England have offered support to Afghan refugees hoping to find new homes away from their Taliban-controlled homeland.

Three of the biggest authorities – London, Birmingham and Manchester – were joined by smaller authorities and cities up and down the country.

Scotland and Wales said they would help the UK effort.

The British Parliament was recalled for a debate on the Afghan crisis during which there was widespread sympathy for Afghans whose lives are torn apart by the Taliban takeover.

Migration remains a hot political potato with many wanting limits on people entering the country.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government will offer a pathway for up to 20,000 Afghans – with 5,000 in the first year – but there were calls from senior Conservative party MP to double the number.

Around the country local leaders offered to help refugees, some of whom are already in the country, and the thousands more expected in the coming weeks.

Birmingham City Council has been in talks with the Home Office since June on rehoming 80 Afghan refugees.

Migration Yorkshire said it will help to house more than 200 people arriving in the county soon.

In Kent, one of the main landing points for people traffickers carrying migrants and refugees, the leader of Ashford Borough Council said he spoke to the Home Office about accepting refugee families.

“People may condemn it and gripe about it but frankly I don't give a damn about that because I think the vast majority of people who are intelligent, reasonable and sensible will realise that what we're doing is really the right thing to do,' councillor Gerry Anderson said.

Andy Burnham and Joanne Anderson, the mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool, made similar promises.

From the far north-east of Northumberland to Wiltshire in the south-west, there were vows to help.

“Northumberland has a long history of supporting those in need from other countries and prior to the current situation in Afghanistan we agreed to the government’s request to support their Afghan Local Employed Staff resettlement proposals,” a Northumberland county council spokesman said.

“We are initially looking to support three families in the near future, with a further three families to follow later in the year. We will also review options to either accelerate or increase our support as necessary.”

Leaders in 22 London boroughs released a joint statement on the Afghan relocation effort.

“We will work closely with London's Afghan community and with our voluntary sector and national government to ensure refugees get the support they need to recover from the trauma they have lived through and start to rebuild their lives,” it said.

Updated: August 18th 2021, 4:13 PM
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