The official statements and responses of the West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership

10 September 2015

Press Statement from Councillor Roger Lawrence (Wolverhampton City Council) Chair of the West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership

Councillor Roger Lawrence, Leader of Wolverhampton City Council, Chair of West Midlands Strategic Migration partnership and member of the Local Government Association (LGA) Migration and Refugee task group, said: “Council representatives will be meeting this week to discuss how best to utilise the money that is to be diverted to councils from the foreign aid budget to help Syrian refugees.

“The situation demands a cross-European response and of course the UK should play a major role in this, both in supporting aid and stronger governance in affected countries, helping poorer European countries provide safe immediate havens for refugees on arrival, and in providing homes and support for refugees in the UK.

“When the first group of Syrian refugees were dispersed the government offered one year’s funding but expected councils and health services to support the often traumatised victims for up to 5 years.

“I believe all councils have a responsibility to work with government around this issue but that any dispersal programme must be seen to be both fair and fully resourced.

“Councils must be involved in discussions and not, as at present largely marginalised. Support should not be limited to funding but assistance given to meet health, housing and educational pressures as well.

“Real attention must also be given to specific groups such as unaccompanied asylum seeking children and those with no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

“In summary we will play our part in meeting this humanitarian crisis but this must be accompanied by real and additional resources and a reversal of the Home Office’s exclusion of local authorities from the decision processes together with an equitable treatment across all geographic areas.”