Question 24/16

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Question 24/16

Q. After the death of the 14-year-old boy in Calais yesterday, there have been many calls for the national Government to do more immediately to take in refugee children, as agreed under the Dubs Amendment. However, as I understand it, part of the responsibility also lies with local councils, as it is down to councils to say how many refugee children they are willing to accept. I would like to ask whether you have committed to welcoming child refugees, and if so how many. I have just returned from 8 weeks volunteering with refugees in Chios, where I met many children desperate to continue their lives. Even if we cannot help the children stuck in Chios, I would be proud of Rother if you were able to help those now in Calais or elsewhere in Europe. (21/09/2016)

A. In early Autumn 2015 David Cameron made a commitment for the UK to receive 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years. Councils around the country also made commitments to provide the necessary support (e.g. education, health care, translation services) and housing for these people.

In East Sussex a commitment was made to receive 200 people, approximately 40 per year. Each district and borough council committed to take on average up to 8 people each year.

Since the commitment was made, officers from around the county have been working together with the Home Office to plan for the arrival of the refugees. Rother held a conference at Ashburnham Place for the different faith groups in the area who had expressed an interest in providing help. The Government has indicated that they expect these families to be placed in the private rented housing sector and not social housing. Securing appropriate accommodation is therefore one of the challenges we face. Any local landlords with suitable self-contained accommodation are encouraged to contact the Council if they are willing to help.

The details are yet to be finalised but it is likely that the first refugees will arrive in East Sussex in late October this year. (28/09/2016)

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