County council agree to welcome refugees 'in principle' - The Leamington Observer

County council agree to welcome refugees 'in principle'

Leamington Editorial 2nd Oct, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016   0

SYRIAN refugees are one step closer to making Warwickshire their home.

At a recent Warwickshire County Council meeting it was provisionally agreed the authority would sign up to the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

If the council officially agrees to take part, it would mean refugees moving to the district and being entitled to five years of humanitarian protection.

This would provide them with the right to work here, as well as welfare benefits and access to the county’s health and education services.

Coun Jonathan Chilvers, who was at the meeting, said: “I am pleased the council say they will sign up to support Syrian refugees in principle.

“Now they must make sure that well intended principle becomes a practical reality as soon as possible.

“However severe the financial strain in Warwickshire, we can always do our part for those fleeing for their lives from war and famine.”

The first of many desperate migrants began arriving in Britain towards the end of last week in a bid to escape war and persecution in the Middle Eastern country, which has become a stronghold of Islamic State.

It comes after Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to resettle more than 20,000 refugees in the UK between now and 2020.

But rather than taking in those already in Europe – whose plight has been the focus of news reports across the world – he said Britain will take refugees directly from camps in countries bordering Syria with priority on orphaned and vulnerable children.

Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White said of the crisis: “Our country has a moral obligation to assist those in need, particularly the most vulnerable people fleeing persecution.

“This ongoing tragedy has complex roots, which require long term solutions. However, I strongly believe the current situation warrants an immediate response.

“We are a compassionate country and community and I believe we should lead by example – on both a national and local level – providing support to these vulnerable people who are in desperate need.”

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper had previously called on local authorities up and down the land to take in refugee families.

In Warwickshire that would mean the county and district councils working together – with the county having responsibility for issues such as education and health while the districts are responsible for housing provision.

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