UK councils to be paid £20,500 for each Afghan they resettle

UK to increase resettlement aid by £32 million

Home Secretary Priti Patel is offering councils thousands of pounds in a bid to rehome more Afghan refugees. AFP
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The UK government has pledged to pay its local councils more than £20,500 for each Afghan citizen it resettles.

The Home Office has also announced it will increase its resettlement support by £32 million.

It is now urging more local authorities to step up and offer to rehome rescued Afghan refugees.

Under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, the government has committed to resettling up to 20,000 Afghans.

This is in addition to the ARAP scheme, which has already resettled thousands of Afghans who have worked with the UK government, and their families.

The Home Office said permanent homes had been found for more than 2,000 refugees, however 6,000 remain in “holding” hotels waiting to be resettled.

This week it has announced councils will receive £20,520 per person, over a three-year period, for resettlement and integration costs.

They will also receive up to £4,500 per child for education, £850 to cover English-language provisions for adults and £2,600 to cover healthcare.

A further £20 million of flexible funding will be available to support local authorities with higher cost bases.

In addition, the Afghan Housing Costs Fund will increase from £5 million to £17 million and run for two extra years to help local authorities provide housing and give certainty that funding will be available in the future.

"The UK is a proud democratic country, so it is unimaginable for many of us to live in fear of being ourselves or not having access to even the most basic rights," Home Secretary Priti Patel said.

"That is why we are providing a safe haven in the UK for people at risk, including women and girls and minority groups, so they can rebuild their lives safely in the UK.

"The funding we’ve announced will help new arrivals to integrate into British society, while giving councils offering support the certainty they need."

Councils urged to do more to rehouse Afghan families

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said he has been "impressed" with the response from councils willing to help refugees.

"I am incredibly impressed by the positive response we’ve received from councils so far, with a large number already pledging their support," he said.

"However, we urgently need more offers of accommodation to welcome Afghan families who have remained firm allies of the UK, working with our troops and our country so bravely in recent years.

"With this extra funding in place, I’m asking all councils who have not yet come forward to contact us with a firm offer of support to help these families secure the best possible start to their new lives."

Some voluntary organisations helping new arrivals from Afghanistan have complained about the UK government's lack of organisation and clarity on the refugee response that has, in some cases, left babies without formula or nappies.

The Refugee Council sounded the alarm over the treatment of the refugees saying that while it recognised the government was "working at speed", many refugees were not always getting the required support.

Afghan Resettlement Minister Victoria Atkins said surgeries will be set up across the country to help those with issues.

"I’m proud of the mammoth effort taking place across the whole of the UK to welcome people from Afghanistan," she said.

"Our resettlement scheme will help to build a bright future for thousands of people who have helped us.

"As part of ongoing, government-wide efforts to help Afghan arrivals to rebuild their lives, the Department for Work and Pensions is launching surgeries across the country, run by experienced work coaches with translators, to help those arriving with any questions they may have about employment or benefits.

"These surgeries, combined with access to benefits, will allow new arrivals to receive individual tailored support to help them become self-sufficient more quickly and find work as they get settled in the UK."

Updated: September 14, 2021, 1:42 PM