Syrian refugee places for 20,000 'secured' in UK
Enough local authority places to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next four years have now been secured, the home secretary has said.
Amber Rudd said the UK was on track to deliver the promise made by former PM David Cameron to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020.
A total of £10m has also been pledged for language tuition to help refugees integrate, the Home Office said.
So far about 2,800 Syrians have arrived in the UK, latest figures suggest.
The fighting between Syrian government forces, opposition rebel groups and so-called Islamic State militants has caused 4.5 million Syrians to flee their homes, according to the UN refugee agency.
"Securing the 20,000 pledges within 12 months is testament to the immense goodwill and generosity of the British people and the effort and determination of local authorities across the UK.
"We are on track and delivering our commitment to help the most vulnerable Syrians displaced by the conflict," Ms Rudd said.
The additional funding for English language training will mean all adults arriving through the scheme will receive an extra 12 hours a week of tuition, for up to six months, the Home Office said.
Under the government's Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme the government will pay £8,500 per refugee in the first year towards housing, healthcare and other costs – but this figure tapers down to £1,000 by the fifth year.
The charity Refugee Action has welcomed Ms Rudd's comments but said the UK should go further and provide more places – "the UK must go further and faster," said its chief executive, Stephen Hale.
"The devastating war in Syria continues. The government should go beyond the commitment to resettle 20,000 Syrians made one year ago."
How is the UK helping?
- Under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme, the UK will accommodate 20,000 Syrian refugees
- Refugees are being allowed to stay for five years, after which they can apply to settle in the UK
- About £1.1bn of UK money is being used to fund humanitarian aid programmes in and around Syria
- Charities, including the British Red Cross and Oxfam, are running appeals
- Read more here
A spokesman for the Local Government Association, which represents more than 300 councils in England and Wales, said the focus must now be on ensuring Syrian families are matched to the right placements.
"Councils will be helping to support some of the most vulnerable families fleeing Syria who will need ongoing support from health and social care services to cope with injuries, disabilities and to recover from the severe trauma they have experienced," he said.