Afghanistan: Chichester District Council pledges to house Afghan refugees

Chichester District Council has committed to supporting Afghan refugees amid the country's takeover by the Taliban.

The news comes four days after the Taliban took over the South Asian country's capital, Kabul, on Sunday (August 15).

The UK government is reportedly looking to resettle 20,000 refugees with 5,000 in the first year. The district council is now looking for suitable accommodation.

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Councillor Alan Sutton, cabinet member for housing, communications, licensing and events at Chichester District Council said: “No one can fail to be moved by the desperate plight of the Afghan people or the scenes of many fleeing the current situation that we’ve seen on our televisions.”

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 18: Protesters gather on Parliament Square to protest against the Taliban take over of Afghanistan on August 18, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. House of Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, recalled parliament from its summer recess to debate the situation in Afghanistan after a request from the government. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

“As a council, we are committed to playing our part to support the Government’s emerging plan, which aims to help those most in need, particularly women, girls and those who have been helping British operations in Afghanistan.

"In the same way that we have helped Syrian families to settle in the Chichester District, we are fully committed to supporting the national effort to help the most vulnerable Afghan people to resettle in the UK, in any way that we can.

“We understand that the Government is looking to resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees in the UK over a number of years, with 5,000 in the first year. This is in addition to the current Afghan Locally Employed scheme, which works to relocate at-risk Afghan workers who have supported coalition troops.

"We’re proud to say that Chichester District Council was one of the first districts to have housed a family under the Locally Employed scheme, and that we are looking at housing more people in the near future.

“In our area, West Sussex County Council will lead on managing any scheme to resettle Afghan refugees in the county, and we are committed to supporting this effort by providing annual funding.

"Our main role would be to identify suitable housing that can be used as part of the scheme, as we have already done under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme, which has successfully housed a number of Syrian families in the Chichester District over the last few years.

“We will know more as the Government’s programme is developed, but any plans to resettle Afghan refugees in our area will follow a similar process to the Syrian Scheme, with the Home Office coordinating rehoming centrally as part of a national initiative.”