Meriden MP, Caroline Spelman, reaffirmed her commitment to supporting the Government's action to resettle 20,000 refugees at the launch of the new ‘Full Community Sponsorship Programme’ with Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Archbishop Justin Welby at Lambeth Palace. The scheme will enable charities, faith groups, churches and businesses to take on the role of supporting resettled refugees in the UK, and is supported by the current Prime Minister, Theresa May.
The decision to provide additional support to refugee families displaced by the conflict in Syria was made partly in response to a Parliamentary petition of over 450,000 signatures. The petition urged the Government to take direct action in order to ‘accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants’.
Mrs Spelman, who also serves as The Second Church Estates Commissioner, paid tribute to the Home Secretary and the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is one of the first to offer a home to a refugee family at his official London residence.
Speaking at the launch, Mrs Spelman said: ‘I am delighted to be able to attend today’s launch of the Full Community Sponsorship Programme with the Home Secretary, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
I am sure that local residents would agree with me that images coming from the region are harrowing and that it is important that UK faith groups, businesses and churches are able to work with Government and other international partners to provide support for those displaced by conflict in the Middle East.'
Speaking about Government support for the Syrian conflict, the Meriden MP added:
‘The UK should not stand by whilst families in Syria and the Middle East remain threatened. However, we need a joint international response to this crisis which is why I am pleased that the Government continues to develop a comprehensive strategy to help tackle this crisis with our allies.
Above all else we must continue to promote opportunities for diplomatic talks, contribute to the wider humanitarian effort, plan for post-conflict stabilisation of the region, and work with our coalition partners to conduct carefully calculated air strikes against Daesh to degrade their military power and halt their advances.'
When the scheme was announced in February, the Government advised that funding for the Full Community Sponsorship Programme would be allocated by the Department for International Development from the UK foreign aid budget. The Government has said that this will ensure that local authority resources are protected and that families have access to the necessary support services upon their arrival in the UK.
Organisations looking to sponsor a family must therefore have the agreement of local authorities and set out a comprehensive plan for settlement in order to apply to join the scheme. Sponsors will provide housing, help refugees access medical and social services, arrange English tuition and support refugees in finding work.
In addition to this scheme, the government has also set up a ‘Help Syrian Refugees’ page on thegov.uk website to allow members of the public to contribute to the resettlement programme.