Cllr Alex Collis has highlighted Cambridge Council’s “strong record of welcoming refugees” to the cityLouis Ashworth

Cambridge City Council has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting refugees in a press release today (20/08). The council aims to explore “every route available” to aid in Britain’s commitment to settling 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan following the recent takeover of the country by the Taliban.

The UK government stated on 17/08 that 20,000 refugees, prioritising women, children, and religious minorities, will be resettled in the UK over the next five years. At present, the UK does not have an agreement with the Taliban to allow people to depart Afghanistan.

The Cambridge council has a history of commitment to resettling refugees: in 2015 the council was one of the East of England’s first authorities to respond to the government’s call for help resettling 20,000 refugees, mostly from Syria and some other countries such as Iraq and Sudan.

Initial council plans in 2015 aimed to resettle 50 refugees in and around Cambridge through the five-year Home Office Refugee Resettlement Scheme. Over three years the council accommodated 116 refugees with the support of faith groups and voluntary organisations.

Last October, the Council pledged to resettle another 200 refugees across five years, and announced in June that it would set aside four council houses a year to meet this aim.


Mountain View

Government and Cambridge City Council discuss pursuit of five-year refugee resettlement target

Speaking in October last year, Cllr Nicky Massey, Executive Councillor for Transport and Community Safety, said: “We will need to rely on the generosity and commitment of a range of individuals and organisations, including nearby local authorities, housing associations and the city’s amazing community and voluntary sector” to fulfil refugee resettlement commitments.

Cllr Alex Collis, Executive Councillor for Open Spaces, Sustainable Food and Community Wellbeing, underlined the importance of these partnerships in ensuring that “Cambridge is a city of sanctuary” for Afghan refugees.

“Our biggest challenge is housing and we are looking at what we can deliver ourselves and how we can use our expertise to work with others,” he said.