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Norfolk could resettle a further 100 Syrian refugees

PUBLISHED: 11:00 09 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:00 09 July 2018

Syrian refugee children in the settlement camp where they live amongst an olive grove in Koura, near Tripoli, Lebanon. Pic: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Syrian refugee children in the settlement camp where they live amongst an olive grove in Koura, near Tripoli, Lebanon. Pic: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Archant

A hundred further Syrian refugees could be welcomed to a new life in Norfolk over the next two years, using funding from the Home Office.

Norfolk County Council voted in July 2016 to accept 50 vulnerable Syrian refugees through the government’s resettlement scheme, which set a target to offer sanctuary to 20,000 people fleeing civil war over five years.

The vote was taken following a wrangle over the cost of providing support to the refugees, with Westminster only willing to pay £1m towards resettlement costs - leaving a £400,000 shortfall.

However, district councils plugged part of the gap by agreeing to make a contribution towards the costs of hosing the refugees in Norwich and Broadland.

Fifty-two Syrian refugees, from 12 different families, have been housed in the Greater Norwich area.

The refugees are not in council homes, but in private accommodation sourced through the councils’ private sector leasing schemes.

And, at a meeting of Norfolk County Council’s policy and resources committee on Monday, county councillors will be asked to agree that a further 100 Syrian refugees are settled in Greater Norwich over the next two years.

Council leader Andrew Proctor, said: “Norfolk has been proud to play its part in the national efforts to support Syrian refugees, with Home Office funding. The committee will now look at whether we can resettle a further 100 refugees.”

The first 12 months of a refugee’s resettlement costs are fully funded by central government.

And the report to ccome before councillors states: “It is indicated that the predicted total funding shortfall of £401,659 over seven years for delivering a basic resettlement service in Norfolk has been successfully overturned since it was highlighted in 2016.

“It is understood that the basic funding offer by the government is £20,520 per refugee (five years of funding per individual), equating to total funding of £1,026,000 for 50 individuals.”

The report adds continued discussions are taking place with the Home Office and the Local Government Association to better understand the funding available for local councils.

Since the outbreak of civil war in 2011, about 4.3m Syrians have fled abroad.

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