More than 60 Afghan refugees in Norfolk - but funding fears raised

Afghan refugees disembark at the Torrejon military base as part of the evacuation process in Madrid.

Afghan refugees disembark at a military base after the Taliban took control in the summer. - Credit: AP Photo/Andrea Comas

Sixty-three refugees from Afghanistan have been welcomed to Norfolk - but council leaders say the government should make more money available to help support them.

Refugees were airlifted out of the country in the summer, after the Taliban took control.

There was a plea for private landlords to make homes in the Greater Norwich available for refugees and for the public to help with clothing and items to furnish homes.

Norfolk County Council had already been expecting to resettle 50 people under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy - which involved people and their families who supported the military.

Nineteen had arrived by August. That has now increased to 63.

That does not include any from the separate Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, announced after the Taliban took control, with that scheme yet to open.

But concerns have been raised that the money councils are being given by the government will not go far enough to ensure proper support for the refugees.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Andrew Proctor, County Hall leader, said: "We’ve always understood there is a long term commitment to help these individuals build a new life here, and whether it’s supporting them to learn English or giving them a good understanding of how to gain employment our involvement with these new arrivals doesn’t end at putting a roof over their heads.

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“However that also means our work with them can be complicated.

"It can also take time, and the short term funding provided to support some Afghans who have arrived in the UK may not be sufficient to meet their needs as they integrate into a new society.

"I would urge the Home Office to work with us to provide the support needed to help these refugees build a new life here in Norfolk."

The Home Office announced extra housing support funding for larger properties for up to three years from the tenancy start date, but that money is not available to house families arriving after the evacuation which concluded on August 31.

And an improved funding package for councils to support Afghans for three years will only be granted for households resettled in local authorities after September 1, so families resettled before that remain on the original one-year funding package.

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