Published: 11:52, 14 September 2021
| Updated: 14:49, 14 September 2021
Councils in Kent which say they are prepared to take in Afghan refugees will get more than £20,000 for each person under the government’s resettlement programme.
The Home Office has set out what it says represents a generous funding package to support the resettlement of families who have come to the UK having been at risk in Afghanistan.
But it has urged councils who have yet to say if they will participate to step up, saying there is an urgent need for more accommodation to house families.
Under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) or Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme, authorities will receive £20,520 per person for resettlement and integration costs.
While this is based on the previous Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, the funding will be over three rather than five years, with more money provided in the crucial early period to help people settle and become part of their new communities.
In addition, councils and health partners who resettle families will also receive up to £4,500 per child for education, £850 to cover English language provision for adults requiring this support and £2,600 to cover healthcare.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The UK is a proud democratic country, so it is unimaginable for many of us to live in fear of being ourselves or not having access to even the most basic rights.
"That is why we are providing a safe haven in the UK for people at risk, including women and girls and minority groups, so they can rebuild their lives safely in the UK.
"The funding we’ve announced will help new arrivals to integrate into British society, while giving councils offering support the certainty they need.”
Ashford council was the first authority in Kent to declare that it would take in refugees from Afghanistan and has already housed some families.
Council leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson said: “We must open our hearts to these people and with the experience we have gained welcoming and integrating our Syrian friends into local communities, no-one in the UK is better placed to give these people a safe haven and a new start.”
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “I am incredibly impressed by the positive response we’ve received from councils so far, with a large number already pledging their support.
'I’m asking all councils who have not yet come forward to contact us with a firm offer of support to help these families secure the best possible start to their new lives.'
"However, we urgently need more offers of accommodation to welcome Afghan families who have remained firm allies of the UK, working with our troops and our country so bravely in recent years.
“With this extra funding in place, I’m asking all councils who have not yet come forward to contact us with a firm offer of support to help these families secure the best possible start to their new lives."
The government has committed to resettling up to 20,000 Afghans, of which 5,000 will be resettled in the scheme’s first year.
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