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Leaders pledge support to Afghan refugees

Leaders at Staffordshire County Council have pledged their support to vulnerable people fleeing Afghanistan.

Arrangements are already being made to welcome the families of around 20 Afghan staff who assisted the British armed forces in Afghanistan, through the Government’s Afghan Relocation Assistance Programme (ARAP).

As well as this, the county council has written to the Government to seek further clarity on the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), managed by the Home Office, so it can work with district and borough councillors to provide the support needed.

The county council will also work with its partners Refugee Action and Spring Housing to ensure everything is in place for the arrival of refugees.

The Home Office has stated that it is committed to providing protection for vulnerable people fleeing Afghanistan, and that the ACRS will welcome up to 5,000 vulnerable Afghans to the UK in its first year. Priority will be given to women, children and minorities.

Leader of Staffordshire County Council Alan White said: “Staffordshire has a long and proud history record of helping those fleeing repression and violence, as we have demonstrated in recent years by helping vulnerable families fleeing Syria.

“We are pledging to do our bit to support Afghans who have helped British forces, or who are vulnerable and whose lives are at risk if they stay in Afghanistan. While we are already forging ahead with plans to accommodate people through the ARAP scheme, we have asked the Government for more detail on its plans to relocate some 5,000 vulnerable people from Afghanistan in the UK.

“As with the Syrian refugees a few years ago, we will only take those we know we can safely and readily accommodate. This means working closely with our district and borough councils, plus Refugee Action, Spring Housing and local charities to ensure we have everything in place for when they arrive.

“We have also seen tremendous support from local people, who are already asking us what they can do to help. I would expect nothing less from the residents of our county, who have always been willing to help those in need.

“As soon as we get further details from Government on this latest scheme, we will be able to see exactly what support we can provide.”

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