Swindon Labour Councillors, Jim Robbins and Emma Bushell, are moving a motion to help Syrian refugees at the Swindon Full Council Meeting on Thursday 24th September. The motion calls on Swindon Councillors to:
- Express its sympathies with the millions of refugees currently suffering and fleeing from persecution in the Middle East
- Recognise the excellent work currently being done by local refugee support services, particularly by the Harbour Project to help refugee who arrive in the country and the Swindon-Calais Solidarity group who have had had an overwhelming response from local residents keen to help refugees
- Request its Chief Executive to urgently investigate the feasibility of accommodating Syrian refugee families in the Borough; to increase Council funding for local refugee support services to help these refugee families and to support a bid for Swindon to obtain City of Sanctuary status
- Request the Leader of the Council to lobby the government to engage more effectively with this problem by working constructively with European partners to deal with the refugees currently in Europe and address the underlying international development problems at the source of the refugee crisis.
Councillor Jim Robbins said:
“With this motion we are looking to celebrate and praise local groups who are supporting refugees and we want to say to the government that Swindon wishes to play a full and active role in supporting the refugees coming in to the country.
The government have said the South West will take in 1% of the 20,000 total Syrian refugees coming in to this country over the next 4 years. Frankly I think the South West can do better than this and we would like to see if Swindon can accommodate more of the Syrian refugees, that is why we are requesting the Council’s Chief Executive to look at this and that is why I think we need to state to the government what Swindon can do.”
Councillor Emma Bushell said:
“We think Swindon should pursue a City of Sanctuary status as other towns and cities in the UK have done. This would build a culture of hospitality for people seeking sanctuary in the town from conflict and persecution.
And we also want to send a message to the government that it needs to engage more effectively with other countries to work constructively address the causes of this refugee crisis.”