When David Cameron made the commitment to extend the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, he said the UK would resettle “up to 20,000 refugees by the end of this Parliament” and then supplemented this scheme with 3,000 “children at risk” due to also be resettled directly from the region. Because of the Fixed Term Parliament Act, people assumed this meant 2020; however the snap election now calls this commitment into question. The incoming Government could choose to scrap the scheme with immediate effect.
Currently, even if the incoming Government agrees to continue the existing resettlement commitment until 2020, that still leaves two more years before the end of the Parliament (2022). This is an opportunity for the incoming government to demonstrate Britain’s global leadership and continue to build on the strong commitments already made.
UNHCR estimates that the number of people in need of resettlement globally in 2017 is 1.19 million. They suggest that the UK could expand its commitment to at least 10,000 refugees a year and consolidate the various programmes into one flexible scheme which provides a safe and legal option for refugees of many different nationalities according to need.
On our web site we provide links to some very useful non-partisan background documents produced by Safepassage, a project of Citizens UK, with a collection of frequently asked questions about refugees pertinent to the imminent General Election, as well as ideas for questions to ask all candidates. To view or download these documents, please visit www.rwmk.org.uk/general-election-2017
Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes (RWMK) is committed to help the people of Milton Keynes welcome more refugees over the coming years. We will work with politicians (from all parties) to make this happen. It is important to raise questions about refugees during the election, and then build positive relationships with people who can help us achieve our goals.
Also relevant to the forthcoming General Election, and as a way to demonstrate commitment to the values of justice, inclusion, and welcome, Citizens:mk are organising a Great Big Get Together on Friday June 16th. This will be an Iftar meal (breaking a fast). We hope that a number of politicians (including the new MPs for Milton Keynes) will be there. It will be an opportunity to reflect on the way Milton Keynes can develop as a Just, Inclusive and Welcoming community, and speak up for the needs of refugees. Please visit greatgettogether.eventbrite.co.uk to book tickets.