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Tower Hamlets Council pledges support for refugees

11The Mayor of Tower Hamlets and the leaders of the two opposition groups on Tower Hamlets Council will be writing to the Prime Minister to pledge support to refugees affected by the current crisis.
At a meeting of the full council on Sept 16, Mayor John Biggs introduced an emergency motion in response to the humanitarian crisis arising from the situations in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Eritrea.
The motion stated Britain and other countries have a moral duty and a responsibility to provide a sanctuary for those who are forced to flee their homes.
Large numbers of migrants have undertaken hazardous and lengthy journeys, and many have lost their lives, trying to reach a safe haven in Europe. UN figures show a third of a million people have attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea in the last eight months.
The Mayor said: “East London has a proud history of providing a safe haven for refugees of war and conflict.
The pictures we’ve seen over the recent weeks have shocked the nation and we have all been touched by the scenes of desperate refugees fleeing for their lives. London must play its part and Tower Hamlets will be at the forefront on London’s response.
I am getting messages from individuals from across the borough who want to help and to know what they can do. Irrespective of party affiliation, I know my colleagues in the Council Chamber want to see us ready to play our full part in this humanitarian crisis.
The Government’s commitment that Britain will take 20,000 refugees over five years is a start. But it isn’t enough.”
The Mayor emphasised that support would be carefully managed and through through. Any provisions for refugees and asylum seekers will not impact on resources and services for residents such as our limited supply of social housing.
The council’s priority will always be its residents, but with financial support from the Government it could also play a part in helping the refugees,
The council agreed the Mayor’s motion to explore all possible options with an aim to provide support for a number of refugee families during this crisis.
Leaders of all the political groups will request the Prime Minister to make available sufficient resources to enable councils to make adequate provision for refugees whilst ensuring that the authority can meet its primary obligation to residents.
The council also agreed to work with charity groups and organisations across Tower Hamlets and London to provide help and support.