Another question was asked recently at a council committee on the refugee crisis and what the council is doing. A meeting has now happened with the Home Office but the council hasn't released any more information yet. I am trying to get a briefing on this.
Could the leader update us all on meetings with civil servants on the details of government support for local authorities who will be asked to help with the refugee crisis?
REPLY by Leader of the Council:
Council officers met with officials from the Home Office on 16th October to understand more about the scheme.
The existing refugee dispersal scheme will continue, but Local Authorities are also being asked to provide support for those coming directly from the camps.
The Home Office has been meeting with individual Local Authorities in each sub-region, which in Reading’s case is the Thames Valley, which comprises Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. As the Home office has yet to meet with many of the Local Authorities in the Thames Valley area we have been asked not to talk about numbers of refugees until they have a complete picture.
The Government has confirmed that with the expanded programme, additional funding beyond the first 12 months will be provided. The Home Office officials were not able to give specific details at this stage but the Home Office has said that it will inform local authorities as soon as possible.
As I have previously stated Reading Borough Council is of course willing to help and I will update Councillors as soon as there is greater clarity from the Home Office.