Laura Sharman 05 October 2015

Councils promised more money to help refugees

Councils promised more money to help refugees image

Local authorities will receive additional funding to help house and support refugees beyond the first 12 months, the Government has confirmed.

Councils have already been promised funding from the foreign aid budget to help cover the housing and social care costs of helping up to 20,000 Syrian refugees moving to the UK for the first year.

Paul Morrison, of the Home Office’s resettlement gold command, has now written to the Local Government Association (LGA) pledging ‘additional funding to assist with costs incurred in future years’.

The letter, seen by LocalGov, read: ‘We understand that councils need certainty about the financing of the scheme in order to enter into contracts and commit resources.

‘We will be working closely with local government to develop the process for drawing down the funding in order that this certainty can be given, including to those councils offering help under the existing scheme.’

Cllr David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s Asylum, Refugee and Migration Task Group, said: ‘No community should be faced with the decision of having to close libraries or children's centres in order to meet the costs of supporting refugees.

‘That is why it is important the scheme is fully funded with new money which does not end up being snatched back from local taxpayers as part of the Spending Review.’

The LGA said it would be pushing for a more 'detailed commitment’ from the Government on the extra resources available, and is calling for specialist council staff to help assess the needs of refugees before they arrive in the UK.

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