Scarborough to accept 35 refugees as part of Global Resettlement Scheme

Scarborough Council is set to accept a minimum of 35 refugees as part of a government-led resettlement scheme.

Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 1:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 1:32 pm
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The authority’s cabinet today backed the county-wide plan to take in around seven families subject to the project being funded from Westminster.

In 2016, Scarborough accepted 36 Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict in their own country as part of a North Yorkshire-wide resettlement program of approximately 200 people.

The new initiative, the Global Resettlement Scheme, will run from 2021 to 2024 and once again see around 200 people housed in the county.

A report prepared for the cabinet said that while the previous refugees were fleeing conflict in Syria this time the geographical focus will be “broadened beyond the Middle East and the North Africa region”.

Cabinet member Cllr Tony Randerson (Lab), in response to some negative online comments, said it was important to remember that private rented homes, as well as social housing, would be used to house the families.

He also said that he would welcome any of the families moving in next door to him.

He added: “It is deeply regrettable that since this report entered the public domain there have been a number of negative remarks, especially on social media.

“I am immensely proud to be able to support these refugees who are fleeing persecution that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

“To do anything less just isn’t an option. Despite some quite unChristian comments from a thankfully very small minority of residents I have to say that we just spent a couple days remembering the fallen over two world wars and the devastation those wars created, these refugees are escaping such areas of war, much the same as occurred during the two great wars where our allies escaped and were taken in as refugees.”

Cllr Neil Heritage (UKIP) told the cabinet that families having to relocate due to war was “truly sad and undoubtedly heartbreaking” but added that Britain was one of the most populated countries in Europe, especially compared to France, Portugal and Spain.

He said: “Scarborough schools are already nearing capacity and face a 10% rise in the coming years with a number of families not getting their first choice at local schools and having to travel further afield.

“Scarborough Hospital is constantly falling below A&E waiting time targets in previous years.

“It is my opinion that we should help our own veterans and homeless first.

“However, as many councillors have pointed out, there is more to the borough than Scarborough and I hope that if these families do come they are spread out around the borough to share the potential burden on Scarborough’s infrastructure.”

Andrew Rowe, the council’s housing manager, said the families would account for about 1% of the total households the council supports into accommodation and added that they would be housed as homes became available but it was preferred to keep them close to each other so they have a support structure.