Lucy Allan MP has today written to Telford & Wrekin Council Chief Executive, Mr David Sidaway, to encourage the Council to make firm offers of support to Afghan interpreters and others, under the Government’s resettlement scheme. The Council has indicated it’s support, but firm offers are now urgently needed. The full text of the letter is below:
I am aware of the Council’s recent press statements re accommodating Afghan refugees, which are most welcome.
The details of the Afghan resettlement scheme are being finalised by the Home Office. As you will be aware, it will be like the Syrian scheme before it, based on multi-year funding for Councils, to provide all the aspects of support required. MHCLG are working closely with the Home Office.
The ARAP scheme - for interpreters and others, will be well known to Telford & Wrekin Council. The Home Office and MHCLG have been communicating with Councils on this for a number of months (and indeed years on the predecessor scheme). It is fully funded and MHCLG increased funding for this only last week with an additional £5m discretionary fund. The Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Local Government have had numerous calls with all Council leaders in recent days and weeks, to explain the process and to encourage firm offers of support. I hope you have found this helpful.
One third of councils have so far indicated support. However, fewer Councils have given firm offers of actual homes. The Government urgently needs councils to convert indicative support into firm offers, especially for family sized homes.
I should be most grateful if you would let me know how many ARAP families Telford & Wrekin has housed so far and how many firm offers of housing the Council has made or intends to make to the local Strategic Migration Partnership, which is coordinating this process. The concern has been that some Councils have made statements of intent but have yet to make firm offers. The Government is keen to convert these statements into firm offers urgently. I would be pleased to work with you to resolve any issues that would help the Council convert statements of intent into firm offers.
The West Midlands overall, is the best region for firm offers and I am sure Telford & Wrekin will be among those Councils ready to play their part. Thank you for all you are doing on this issue.