Could Pontins Pakefield welcome Afghan refugees?

Pontins, Pakefield.PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Pontins, Pakefield.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Refugees fleeing Taliban-controlled Afghanistan could be temporarily housed at Pontins in Pakefield after the company offered its services.

A report in The Telegraph this week claimed the holiday park company had expressed an interest in offering accommodation to hundreds of families when they arrive in the UK.

The report claims two specific sites are being considered by Home Office officials, although ministers are yet to make a final decision.

As well as its Pakefield holiday park, Pontins also has bases in Southport, North Wales, Somerset, Camber Sands and Weston-super-Mare.

Afghanistan is currently on the red travel list, which means anyone arriving in the UK is required to quarantine on arrival for 10 days.

East Suffolk Council, along with all other district and borough councils in Suffolk, said it is "committed" to rehoming refugees when they arrive.

The UK government has announced the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, which is set to see up to 20,000 Afghan people rehomed over the next five years.

Several Afghan interpreters and their families have previously resettled in Suffolk.

A statement released on behalf of all Suffolk local authorities earlier this month said: "All councils in Suffolk are committed to this cause.

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"In the coming days and weeks, the district, borough and county councils will continue working with the government to do what we can to provide assistance to vulnerable refugees.

"Times like this call for acts of humanity. Suffolk will play its part."

Airbnb properties could also be used to temporarily rehome refugees after the rental firm pledged to welcome 20,000 people at no charge.

Earlier this week, 19 refugees had arrived in the country to be resettled in Norfolk, which is expected to house 50 people initially under the government policy.

Britain's evacuation effort in Kabul entered its final hours on Friday afternoon, although defence secretary Ben Wallace admitted around 1,000 Afghans could be left behind.

Despite airlifting nearly 14,000 people out of Afghanistan in the past two weeks, Mr Wallace said “the sad fact is not every single one will get out”.

Some 13,708 British nationals and vulnerable Afghans have been evacuated so far since the middle of August, when the Taliban were marching to power as the US drew down its troops.

Pontins has been approached for comment.

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