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'Additional funding' promised to support Syrian refugee costs

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Local authorities which take in Syrian refugees have been promised “additional funding” by the Home Office so that support extends beyond the first year of a refugee’s arrival in an area.

In a letter to David Simmonds (Con), chair of the Local Government Association’s asylum, migration and refugee task group, the Home Office said it had made the commitment so that local authorities could “plan ahead”.

The LGA has repeatedly called for councils to be fully reimbursed beyond the first year. LGC understands it has not yet been decided if the government will commit to fully reimbursing councils for the costs associated with supporting Syrian refugees for each of the five years they are eligible to stay in the UK.

Paul Morrison, from the Home Office’s resettlement gold command, said in his letter: “The first 12 months of a refugee’s resettlement costs are fully funded by central government using the overseas aid budget.

“To ensure that local authorities can plan ahead and continue to respond to the overwhelmingly generous response of the British people, we will also provide additional funding to assist with costs incurred in future years.”

Mr Morrison said the funding arrangements would apply to “all cases” since prime minister David Cameron announced the country would take in up to 20,000 Syrians by the end of this parliament. Mr Cameron pledged last month to find a way to fund councils.

“We understand that councils need certainty about the financing of the scheme in order to enter into contracts and commit resources,” said Mr Morrison. “We will be working closely with local government to develop the process for drawing down the funding in order that this certainty can be given, including to those councils offering help under the existing scheme.”

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