The Government has announced the funding councils will receive for resettling Afghan citizens in the UK and asked for more local authorities to “step up” and offer places.
The LGA said the majority of councils are helping, and has been highlighting some of the challenges they face as new arrivals move from hotel quarantine to temporary ‘bridging’ accommodation.
These include lack of information about the people arriving, what their needs are and their family size, and providing basic necessities as well as wellbeing and psychological support for those who have been traumatised.
Councils in many areas have moved quickly to support refugees in ‘bridging’ hotels and the LGA is calling for that role to be recognised and properly funded.
Giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee, LGA Chairman Cllr James Jamieson said it was important to reduce the time Afghan families spend in ‘bridging’ hotels, particularly due to the lack of play opportunities for children and wider concerns around safeguarding.
However, with Afghan families often having six or seven members and large houses generally in short supply across the country, the Government will need to properly resource councils across all the schemes that resettle new arrivals in new communities.
“If there is going to be genuine dispersal across the country, the fact of the matter is renting a four-bedroom house in Surrey, for instance, is going to cost an awful lot more than renting a four-bedroom house in, say, Barnsley,” Cllr Jamieson told MPs.
Councils who support people through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme or Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy will receive £20,520 per person for resettlement and integration costs over three years, while the Afghan Housing Costs Fund has increased from £5 million to £17 million, see https://bit.ly/3EpMJZW and the LGA’s latest updates on Afghan resettlement.