Council volunteering to take five Afghan families urges other local authorities to do the same

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read

Watch: Local council volunteering to take in five Afghan families

A local council has offered to take five Afghan refugee families – and has encouraged authorities across the UK to make similar pledges.

The government announced this week that the UK will take up to 20,000 people fleeing Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover.

Caroline Jackson, the leader of Lancaster Council, said the authority has volunteered to take five Afghan families, reflecting that they "already have a large number of asylum seekers and refugees from other areas with us".

But Jackson said they are "very keen" to add to that numbers as they find more accommodation in the future.

She told Sky News that other councils should also volunteer to take Afghan refugees as they "will give a lot to the communities".

Read more: 'Why is he still in a job?' Raab under fire for being 'too busy' to make Afghan phone call on holiday

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 18, 2021: Demonstrators including former interpreters for the British Army in Afghanistan protest in Parliament Square against Taliban and demand human rights in Afghanistan as MPs hold a debate on the crisis in Afghanistan in the House of Commons on August 18, 2021 in London, England. The British Parliament has been recalled for one day from summer recess as the Taliban regained control over Afghanistan and its capital Kabul in recent days following the withdrawal of international troops and the collapse of the Western-backed Afghan government. (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Demonstrators including former interpreters for the British Army in Afghanistan protest in Parliament Square. (Getty)

She said: "Many of them speak very good English...

"They've been working with our forces, they share some of our values...

"They just want to get on and set up a new life."

Jackson said there are Afghans who have been working on the front line with British troops and therefore "don’t lack courage", adding: "They’re going to be really useful to your communities."

Read more: Vulnerable 73-year-old mother of Afghan who worked for UK stuck in Kabul at mercy of Taliban

Following the government’s announcement to find homes for thousands of Afghan refugees, offers of help have already come from various parts of the country.

The leader of Newark and Sherwood Council John Robinson confirmed it had welcomed its first resettled Afghan family tweeting he was "blown away by their resilience, optimism and gratitude in the face of such tragedy."

James Jamieson, chairman of the Local Government Association which represents councils across England and Wales, said councils "stand ready to work with government to design any new resettlement scheme" while Wirral Council leader Jan Williamson said there would be a welcome for "those who need our assistance."

Taliban fighters patrol in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. The Taliban declared an
Taliban fighters patrol in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighbourhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, following their takeover. (AP)

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, told Radio 4’s Today programme: "We of course – as always – stand ready to help and to welcome people here who need our help, but it does need to be fair to places like Greater Manchester."

Steve Rotheram, metro mayor for the Liverpool City Region, told the Liverpool Echo: "Our city region has long been a sanctuary for people escaping war, famine and persecution and we will do all we can to assist refugees from this terrible conflict."

A spokesman for Ashford Borough Council, which had been planning to help between five and 10 families this year, said its officers had been in discussions with the Home Office on Wednesday about planning for the arrival of more Afghan families in the region.

However, the government has faced criticism that it is not moving quickly enough to take in refugees, with 5,000 expected this year.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2021/08/18: A protester holding a placard expressing her opinion, during the demonstration.
Demonstrators including former interpreters for the British Army in Afghanistan protest in Parliament Square against Taliban and demand human rights in Afghanistan as MPs hold a debate on the crisis in Afghanistan in the House of Commons. (Photo by Tejas Sandhu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A protester holding a placard demanding the government take in Afghan interpreters. (Getty)

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) described the resettling of 5,000 Afghans as "woefully inadequate."

JCWI chief executive Satbir Singh warned that local authorities are currently "woefully underfunded" and will need resources "to house Afghan refugees safety, welcome them and give them the chance to rebuild their lives."

On Wednesday home secretary Priti Patel defended the government’s Afghan resettlement scheme, telling Sky News: "We are working quickly on this. We cannot accommodate 20,000 people all in one go. Currently we are bringing back almost 1,000 people a day.

"This is an enormous effort. We can’t do this on our own. We have to work together."

Watch: The UK has agreed to accept 20,000 refugees

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