Hillingdon Council has pledged to support the government in welcoming refugees from Afghanistan and offered to receive families when the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy was first announced.
Like other local authorities, Hillingdon has been concerned by recent events in Afghanistan, and the council is continuing to work with the UK government’s emergency Afghan resettlement scheme to see what further help it can provide, while recognising the enormous shortage of affordable large family homes locally.
As a gateway borough to the UK, council officers already work hard to support many asylum seekers (the second highest number in London) from a variety of countries, including Afghanistan, by funding access to social care, housing, education and other services.
While the council is committed to helping refugees, it will balance this with the need to fund existing services and support existing residents to achieve their housing needs.
Leader of Hillingdon Council, Cllr Ian Edwards, said: “Hillingdon residents expect us to fulfil our humanitarian duty and assist refugees who are seeking safety in this country and we are keen to do this. As a port authority, we are supporting a high number of asylum seekers without sufficient funding. This in turn creates additional pressure on our finances, and we are asking the government to plug the gap and encourage more local authorities to play their part.
“We are working with the government to identify what more we can do to help with the resources, particularly the housing, available to us in Hillingdon.”
Voluntary organisations have reported being overwhelmed with generous donations and are asking for no more to be sent at this time. However, if you would like to find out how you can help, visit www.rescue-uk.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.