Bath MP Wera Hobhouse and Bath & North East Somerset Council Leader Kevin Guy are calling on the Government to make a more ambitious commitment to resettle refugees fleeing the Taliban, and to give Bath & North East Somerset Council extra funding to house and support them here.
The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Government’s commitment to resettle just 5,000 Afghan refugees across the UK over the next year, saying it “falls woefully short” of what is needed in response to the unfolding humanitarian crisis. The party highlighted that 67 people have been resettled in Bath & North East Somerset since 2014, under the previous Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme for refugees of the conflict in Syria.
Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, said:
“It is now or never to save innocent people who fear for their lives and their livelihoods now that the Taliban is back in power. The Government must step up urgently and offer safe and legal routes to the UK for Afghan refugees who’ve been forced to flee their homes. With a heartbreaking humanitarian crisis unfolding before our eyes, Priti Patel’s promise to resettle just 5,000 refugees over the next 12 months falls woefully short of meeting that challenge. I know the UK can do far better than that.
“Bath is an open and welcoming city with a proud record of providing sanctuary to those in need. Bath & North East Somerset have given a new home to 67 refugees fleeing the awful violence in Syria. I know local people will welcome those who are in need of our protection.
“I stand with Cllr Kevin Guy in calling for the Government to live up to its obligations by giving Bath & North East Somerset Council and local authorities across the UK extra funding so we can house, support and integrate these refugees properly.”
Cllr Kevin Guy, B&NES Liberal Democrat Council Leader, said:
“Watching the news unfold, no one could fail to be moved by the plight of the Afghan people, the increasing horror, desperation, and the overriding need to find safe haven etched into faces full of fear and terror.
“As ex-military myself, watching young soldiers cradling babies, handed to them by desperate mothers, whilst watching out for snipers is an image burned deep into my soul.
“I, and the rest of the Liberal Democrat team in B&NES, could not stand by impotent. We are fortunate to have existing organisations set up to help refugees, and our job as a council is to help and support them. We will welcome Afghan refugees with open arms, help people rebuild their lives, with places to live, jobs, and training opportunities. It’s the right thing to do, it's the only thing to do.”
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