Labour leadership contender Yvette Cooper has called for a conference of local authorities to be convened to discuss how areas can accommodate more refugees.
The shadow home secretary wants the UK to take in 10,000 people a year – a more than ten-fold increase on the 750 currently resettled annually via the Gateway Protection programme.
Sheffield and other cities have taken in hundreds of refugees through the programme since 2004 and Ms Cooper is urging others to follow suit. Speaking at the Centre for European Reform yesterday, she said:
‘Britain has to respond to a humanitarian crisis on a scale we have not seen on our continent since the Second World War.’
She added: ‘If every city took 10 refugee families, if every London borough took 10 families, if every county council took 10 families, if Scotland, Wales and every English region played their part, then in a month we’d have nearly 10,000 more places for vulnerable refugees fleeing danger, seeking safety.’
Lisa Doyle, head of advocacy at the Refugee Council charity, said: ‘The British government must do some serious soul searching as it seeks to respond: will Britain demonstrate true leadership by enabling more refugees to reach our shores, or will it continue to close its eyes to their suffering by ignoring pleas for help?’
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