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Councillors put aside political differences to welcome refugees to Bristol

This is a follow up on a previous article from 4th September. 

Bristol Councillors from across the political spectrum came together last night, supporting a motion calling for Bristol to welcome its share of refugees to Bristol. 

The motion saw the four party groups put aside their political differences, working together to table a joint motion calling on Bristol Council to immediately commit to host 50 refugees. This would form a starting point towards ensuring Bristol is hosting its share of refugees fleeing conflict. 

‘I am delighted that Councillors have chosen to work together to make sure that Bristol lives up to its status as City of Sanctuary’ said Councillor Fi Hance, a long time campaigner on the issue. ‘We are calling on the Mayor to immediately pledge to take an initial 50 refugees and to accept refugees from Syria under the government’s Vulnerable People Resettlement Scheme’. 

‘The Local Government Association, who are coordinating the response from local councils, have called on councils to clarify the number of refugees they could host. It is time for the Mayor to make at least an initial commitment, which we then hope can be built upon in the future’ Councillor Hance continued.

Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods, which includes council housing and responding to new arrivals to Bristol neighbourhoods, Daniella Radice, said: ‘We are continuing to call on central Government to provide additional funding to local authorities, so that those fleeing persecution and war can be properly supported. We are pleased that the Government has begun to buckle to public pressure calling on Britain to do more, but this has to be more than just empty words.’  

Councillor Radice added: ‘It is an accident of birth that some people are born in countries suffering from conflict, while others are lucky enough not to. At the weekend 3000 people took to the streets to welcome refugees and call for Bristol to lead the way in hosting those seeking safety. We hope that this motion will start to make that call a reality.’

The motion was voted through at Full Council on Tuesday 15th September, the Mayor will now decide the way forward.

 

FULL COUNCIL MOTION – 15 SEPTEMBER 2015

CITY OF SANCTUARY STATUS

“This Council calls on the Mayor to give real meaning to our “City of Sanctuary” status by working with housing providers, charities, faith organisations and other partners to ensure that Bristol City Council plays its part in housing refugees caught up in the current humanitarian crisis.

We especially call on the Mayor to agree as a matter of urgency to authorise officers to accept refugees from Syria under the government’s Vulnerable People Resettlement scheme.  We are aware that this issue was raised with the Mayor as early as February of this year, and would therefore urge him to take immediate action.

Bristol City Council, as a City of Sanctuary must agree to play a significant role in accepting refugees.  Glasgow, Kingston (London), Birmingham and Edinburgh have already agreed to take 50 refugees each. As one of the larger cities in the UK, Bristol City Council should immediately pledge to take 50 refugees as a starting point towards playing our part in hosting refugees fleeing conflict from across the world.  

This Council further asks the Mayor to write to HM Government asking them to support cities and communities who want to make a difference at least for some of these refugees.”

 

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