Local campaign forces Sevenoaks District Council to reverse refugee policy

Syrian refugees. Picture credit: Trocaire

Local campaign forces Sevenoaks District Council to reverse refugee policy

Yesterday evening Sevenoaks District Council finally succumbed to overwhelming pressure from Lib Dem councillors and local people, reversing its previous decision not to help a single family fleeing war in Syria.

Cllr Elizabeth Purves originally challenged the Conservative-led Council on its policy last year. Since then, hundreds of local people have shown their support for refugee families in need, signing a petition calling for a change of heart.

With every other Kent council having pledged support, Sevenoaks was looking shamefully isolated. Ashford had promised help for 250 refugees, while Tunbridge Wells would support 10 families.

More to do: Keep signing the petition!

Although we applaud Conservative councillors for finally doing the right thing, their offer is now to support just one family. This seems an attempt to simply ‘tick the box’ and breaks the spirit of local people’s calls for genuine support.

Lib Dems are urging people to continue signing the petition, which Cllr Purves will use to force a full Council debate calling for more meaningful support like our neighbouring councils. The Council should step up engagement efforts with private landlords and other groups to find the required housing.

Funding is covered by Central Government and local people still take priority for social housing

Central Government covers the costs under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme. This Scheme focuses on those most in need, such as women and children at risk or survivors of torture. It processes families in Syria or surrounding countries, ensuring they can work immediately upon arrival in the UK.

To sign the paper petition please contact Elizabeth at elizabeth.purves@tiscali.co.uk or 01732 463041.

Or sign the online version below:

http://cds.sevenoaks.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=14&RPID=10625317&HPID=10625317

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