How Leeds is showing rest of the country the way on Syrian refugee aid

A young Syrian refugee being housed at a warehouse after coming ashore at RAF base Akrotiri in Cyprus. Pic: Jack Hill/The Times/PA Wire
A young Syrian refugee being housed at a warehouse after coming ashore at RAF base Akrotiri in Cyprus. Pic: Jack Hill/The Times/PA Wire
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LEEDS City Council has provided homes and support for 100 Syrian refugees, among the highest rates of any local authority in England and Wales.

Bradford, Sheffield, Kirklees and Calderdale councils have also offered up places for families through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement scheme which was set up by the Government in 2015.

Figures released by the Home Affairs Select Committee show that Yorkshire and the Humber took 171 refugees - the highest rate in England and Wales - while the West Midlands housed 159, the North East 116, South East 110, East Midlands 96, Wales 78, East of England 54, Northern Ireland 51, London 33. The North West took no refugees.

Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton and Castleford, has been a constant source of pressure on the Government to do more to help those escaping violence.

She said: “Churches, community groups and councils across Yorkshire have shown the best of Britain – supporting desperate families in need of help.

“The Government’s target is to help 4,000 refugees a year. If every city and county took just four families each year that target would be met.”

She said Theresa May has been dragging her feet and delaying British Government help for more people in Syria.

She said: “Yorkshire is putting the Prime Minister to shame. She should show some proper leadership on this, so other areas across the UK can follow Yorkshire’s example too.”

Between January and March, Bradford took 52 people, Calderdale nine, Hull five, Kirklees 11 and Sheffield 44.

Leeds City Council took 50 in that period, plus another 50 since then. They have agreed to take 225 Syrian refugees altogether with many of those arriving in the next 18 months.

The Home Affairs Select Committee report said it is clear from recently published statistics that more local authorities need to contribute to providing asylum accommodation, including for Syrian refugees.

They said there is now a two-tier system among local authorities, with some providing support to Syrian refugees and others not doing so.

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