The leader of South Oxfordshire District Council has pledged the council’s full support to work with other service providers to support refugees who will be arriving in the UK from Afghanistan.

As a local housing authority, it can provide assistance locally to people over the age of 18 arriving in the UK who have been granted refugee status, subject to the availability of the necessary resources in the district.

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South Oxfordshire has previously supported two Syrian families to resettle in the area and is also participating in the UK resettlement scheme, with officers currently working to resettle three families in the district.

It has agreed to resettle at least one family from Afghanistan under the UK’s existing Afghan Locally Employed Staff (ALES) Resettlement Scheme.

Councillor Sue Cooper, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Many people in Afghanistan are now facing a truly awful situation and we in the UK have a moral duty to offer as much support as possible to those who feel they are now longer safe there.

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“As a district, we have previously supported people in similar situations, and we will do our best to work with our partners across the South Oxfordshire community and beyond to offer what help we can to people from Afghanistan who are granted refugee status.

“However, we can only provide support where funding has been made available by the government, and this applies across all stages of the resettlement process, from health and wellbeing support, to housing, food, and education. 

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"It is vital that we act now, so I urge the government to make funding available as soon as possible so that councils and service providers across the country can put their support plans into action as quickly as possible.

“People in South Oxfordshire will be well aware that we are short of affordable housing to meet the needs of our residents.  To meet this need, and to ensure we can support refugees, the government must provide the additional resources required to make affordable housing more widely available in our district.” 

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