Norwich ready to welcome up to 50 refugees - if the government provides cash to help

Syrian refugees arrive on a dinghy after crossing from Turkey to Lesbos island in Greece. Photo: Pet

Syrian refugees arrive on a dinghy after crossing from Turkey to Lesbos island in Greece. Photo: Petros Giannakouris - Credit: AP

Norfolk is ready to offer up to 50 Syrian refugees a new start in Norwich, but the government needs to pay for the long-term cost of resettling them, council leaders have said.

The government has agreed to take in 20,000 refugees over the next five years from the Syrian civil war, described as the biggest refugee crisis to hit Europe since the Second World War.

And the first multi-agency 'task force' meeting to discuss the county's response to the crisis has been held.

At that meeting it was agreed, in principle, Norfolk could welcome up to 50 refugees.

The view was that they should be housed in the Greater Norwich area, but the sticking point remains how they would be housed.

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Dr Wendy Thomson, managing director of Norfolk County Council told councillors yesterday that refugees would need to be housed in private housing, as they would not meet the two-year residential criteria for social housing.

Councillors, who were supportive of the move, said the government needed to make money available to cover costs.

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But Stephen Agnew, UKIP county councillor for Marshland North, said he did not want to see any of the refugees come to Norfolk.

He said: 'I personally cannot support them coming.

'There are many people around the world less fortunate than the people in those camps.'

What do you think? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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