Mayor must help councils to help refugees, says Assembly
The London Assembly today agreed a motion calling on the Mayor to set out his position on refugees seeking shelter in the capital.
The motion urges the Mayor to outline what he will do to work with London’s local authorities to ensure that they can continue to support those fleeing their country of origin in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.
Sian Berry AM, who proposed the motion said:
“In London we rightly take great pride in the many communities from around the world who have chosen to make their homes here. We have excellent language support services, a developed infrastructure of faith and community organisations, so are well placed to help refugees. Given the acute humanitarian crisis in Syria, I feel it's a moral imperative that London's councils do all they can to help. I hope the Mayor will act on this.”
Leonie Cooper AM, who seconded the motion said:
“We simply cannot turn a blind eye to the plight of refugee children. London has always provided shelter for those who find themselves in the worst circumstances. This time cannot be any different.
Councils across London are keen to play their part in taking in refugee children, but they have to be backed by government. We need to see a departure from the austerity agenda of recent years and to see government stepping up funding for those wanting to help those trying to escape some of the most unimaginable conditions.”
The full text of the Motion is:
This Assembly welcomes the Mayor’s previously stated support for refugees and in particular his support for the UK offering sanctuary to more unaccompanied children. With its diverse population and experienced public services, London is culturally well-placed to accept refugees.
This Assembly notes that the Government is currently consulting local authorities on this issue, and that the number of children accepted and the timeline for these acceptances will depend in part on the authorities’ responses.
The London Assembly recognises that London boroughs have been subjected to amongst the deepest funding cuts imposed by the current Government and its predecessor. This Assembly believes that London local government’s desire to offer assistance to refugees must be met with an equally-strong commitment by central government to provide the funding that will enable local authorities to assist these most vulnerable of people.
This Assembly therefore calls on the Mayor to set out his position on refugees and what he will do to work with all local authorities in London to ensure that they can continue to provide shelter to those fleeing their country of origin, in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.
Notes to editors
- Watch the full webcast.
- The motion was agreed by 20 votes for and 2 against.
- Sian Berry AM who proposed the motion is available for interviews. Please see contact details below.
- As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.
For media enquiries, please contact Mary Dolan on 020 7983 4603. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.