As previously announced, and as previously covered in the Lancashire Telegraph (10 December 2016) and Burnley Express (13 December 2016), Burnley Council is considering the details of a Lancashire-wide programme to resettle Syrian refugees.
Council leader Coun. Mark Townsend said: “We have already made a commitment that the town will play its proper part in helping resettle refugees, and will do so as part of a co-ordinated approach across Lancashire.
“This will be done in a systematic way, including by ensuring that all proper support arrangements are put in place with government support.
Now an Executive meeting on Wednesday 25th January will consider a report with proposals and details about Burnley’s participation in the programme.
The report proposes that Burnley resettles a number of Syrian refugee families over the next few years, in line with the average number being resettled across the county. It also proposes to continue working together with the agency SERCO, who already have a contract with the national government to work with asylum seekers in the North West.
The report states that ‘there will be appropriate financial and practical support from the government’ and through LCC, SERCO and other organisations, so that cash costs resulting from Burnley Council’s participation in the Syrian Refugee Programme and a linked Vulnerable Children Resettlement Scheme will be fully reimbursed through national government funds.
Agreement to the proposals would lead to five families of Syrian refugees moving to Burnley later this year, with additional similar numbers coming to the town in 2018 and 2019. Alongside this, there would be an increase in the number of houses being lived in by asylum seekers, from the current number of ten properties to a total of twenty properties in 2017.
The report to councillors takes account of concerns which have been raised about the impact of the programme and states that the ‘programme will be run without having any disproportionate impact on existing services’.